Elon Musk-led private space exploration company SpaceX, created history yesterday when it successfully landed part of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea despite high winds. The rocket separated from the Dragon spacecraft that had on board cargo for the International Space Station (ISS).
According to commentators, the landing demonstrated the ability of commercial spaceflight industry to operate reusable rockets. This was not the first time that SpaceX had tried to land a rocket on a drone ship, but the attempt was the first successful one. There had been a number of instances of landing rockets on a static pad.
"It's another step toward the stars. In order for us to really open up access to space we have to have full and rapid reusability," an elated Elon Musk, head of SpaceX, said at a press conference.
"What was different about this [landing] is that the rocket landed instead of putting a hole in the ship or tipping over," he joked, CNN reported.
Both Musk, and Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO who also happened to be the founder of private space company Blue Origin, had been trying to master the successful operation of rocket landing. According to commentators, the success of landing the rocket at sea could go a long way in terms application of reusable rockets. Making use of reusable rockets saved money and time for the company.
"Reusability is important. It will take us a few years to make that efficient, Musk added.
Friday's development comes as yet another major milestone in the quest for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and his privately-owned Space Exploration Technologies to develop a cheap, reusable rocket.
With the lift-off at 4:43 pm EDT from Cape Canaveral Space Exploration Technologies resumed resupply flights for NASA following a launch accident in June 2015 that destroyed a cargo payload for the space station.