SpaceX employees gathered around the company’s Mission Control in Hawthorne, California, cheered wildly and chanted “USA” after the booster touched down on the barge off the coast of Cape Canaveral. Previous barge attempts had failed.
The private spaceflight company, which has shuttled cargo to the International Space Station and satellites into orbit since 2012, set off to deliver 7,000lb of supplies and a habitat experiment to the station – an inflatable room for astronauts.
#Elon Musk, the tech billionaire who owns SpaceX, has said he hopes to pioneer reusable rockets that will make spaceflight vastly less expensive – and thus open new frontiers of exploration and opportunity in space.
The company has attempted several landings before, none successful save one on a landing pad on solid earth. Musk hopes to land the rocket on a “drone ship” because the robotic vessel can meet the rocket on its descent, reducing fuel expenses, and because a landing at sea is safer than one near people.
SpaceX landed a reusable rocket on a robotic drone on Friday, its fifth attempt and part of a budding space race between billionaires to revolutionize spaceflight.