Experts applaud SpaceX rocket landing, potential savings
The successful launch and landing by the first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Monday was a significant step toward achieving reusability and, eventually, lowering launch costs, but turning that success into operational reality poses a significant challenge for company founder Elon Musk, space experts said Tuesday.
From a purely technical perspective, the successful re-entry and powered touchdown of the Falcon 9 stage represented a “ground-breaking accomplishment,” said former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin.
“The ability to examine the stage after it has survived the stresses of flight, to put it through qualification and flight acceptance tests to verify and gain confidence in its condition, is the first step toward economical re-use of the launch vehicle,” he said in an email exchange.
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