This has been a very good week for Elon Musk. In addition to seeing the Tesla Model 3 total more than 325,000 reservations, his other company SpaceX just successfully landed one of its Falcon 9 rockets on a floating barge in the middle of the ocean. This is the first time that SpaceX has successfully landed a rocket on an ocean platform, although last December it successfully landed a rocket on solid ground.
One of the biggest projects that SpaceX has been working on has been the development of reusable rockets that are able to land safely on the ground again, which would make space travel much more cost effective than it currently is. A big problem with space travel right now is that it’s very wasteful — the rockets that help propel space shuttles into the atmosphere fall off once they reach a certain height and are often completely unsalvageable after they crash back down to Earth.
This particular rocket was being used to deliver goods to the International Space Station, highlighted by the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), an expandable habitat that can grow up to five times the size of its compressed state after 45 minutes.
Here’s an image that SpaceX posted on Twitter of the rocket landing on the platform:
The 1st stage of the Falcon 9 just landed on our Of Course I Still Love You droneship. Dragon in good orbit pic.twitter.com/SYyUCDZE3k
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 8, 2016
NASA was quick to congratulate SpaceX for a job well done and to thank it for sending up the needed supplies:
— NASA (@NASA) April 8, 2016
Elon Musk graciously accepted their thanks:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 8, 2016
In all, this is a great achievement that should excite everyone who’s interested in the future of space exploration.
Here’s the full video of the entire launch. The landing sequence starts at around the 35:45 mark: