Commercial Spaceflight And The Dawning Age of NewSpace

SpaceX booster flyback a success; development to continue | Michael Belfiore

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A SpaceX  Falcon 9 rocket launched a cargo to the International Space Station today at 3:25pm ET, and then turned around and flew back to a soft landing in the Atlantic Ocean. The cargo, flown on a Dragon capsule, will reach the station on Sunday morning.

It’s the first time a booster rocket has made hypersonic reentry into the atmosphere intact and then splashed down gently without benefit of parachutes. Today’s flight was a major milestone in SpaceX’s quest for reusable orbital rockets. The company is already the cheapest launch provider in the world. Reusing its boosters, something no one else is able to do, would allow the company to radically change the spaceflight industry, essentially producing the iPhone of rockets, the machine everyone else will have to emulate to stay in business.

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