'Welcome back, baby' - revolutionary moment for SpaceX
SpaceX sent a Falcon rocket soaring toward orbit with 11 small satellites, its first mission since an accident last summer. Then, in an even more astounding feat, it landed the 15-story leftover booster back on Earth safely.
It was the first time an unmanned rocket returned to land vertically at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and represented a tremendous success for SpaceX. The company, led by billionaire Elon Musk, is striving for re-usability to drive launch costs down and open up space to more people. "Welcome back, baby!" Musk tweeted after touchdown. "It's a revolutionary moment," Musk later told reporters.
"No one has ever brought a booster, an orbital-class booster, back intact."
What's significant is that this was a useful mission, Musk noted, not merely a practice flight. "I can't quite believe it," he said. "It's quite shocking."
Musk said the company "could not have asked for a better mission or a better day."