SpaceX’s Triumphant Rocket Landing Could Revolutionize Spaceflight
The winter solstice made last night the longest and darkest of the year, but the skies over Florida were filled with light, not once, but twice. First when a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX launched a payload of satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and again nine minutes later when the 15-story-tall first stage of the rocket returned to Earth, riding its fiery jet to a gentle landing.
Though dreamed of for decades by aerospace engineers, such a landing was long considered the stuff of science fiction. “It’s a revolutionary moment,” SpaceX founder CEO Elon Musk said in a press conference shortly after the landing. “No one has ever brought a booster, an orbital-class booster, back intact.” By reusing rockets, Musk said, the total cost of sending cargo and crews to orbit could eventually be reduced by more than a factor of a hundred—cheap enough to open the heavens to all manner of new activities, including Musk’s dream of retiring on Mars.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: blogs.scientificamerican.com