SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Landing a Major Milestone in Space Travel - Elon Musk made history by landing SpaceX's most powerful Falcon 9 rocket back in an upright position, a major milestone in the drive to cut costs and waste by making rockets as reusable as airplanes.
The Falcon 9 made a graceful arc back to Earth and touched down upright at Cape Canaveral, Florida, minutes after launching a payload of satellites to orbit.
The video images on SpaceX's live webcast demonstrated the tall, white portion of the rocket - known as the first stage - appearing to settle down firmly and stick the landing.
The Falcon 9 rocket reached a height of 125 miles before heading back to earth and touching down at a former US Air Force rocket and missile testing range that was last used in 1978.
The video images were cut off within seconds of the landing, and the SpaceX live webcast returned to its commentators, who described the successful deployment of the payload of 11 satellites for ORBCOMM, a global communications company.
SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to supply the astronauts living at the International Space Station (ISS) over numerous back-and-forth trips with its Dragon cargo ship.
A powerful explosion six months ago, which was caused by a faulty strut, destroyed the Falcon 9 about two minutes after launch, along with hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment and cargo bound for the ISS.
Musk said the company fixed that problem and also made the newest version of the Falcon 9 about 30 percent more powerful than previous iterations.