After a few failed attempts, Space X’s Falcon 9 first stage has finally landed their booster at Cape Canaveral this evening. The atmosphere at Space X’s mission control this evening looked more like a Super Bowl victory party than a government contractor office. Engineers cheered wildly as the craft successfully touched down just ten minutes after launch. The celebration was warranted. This was the first time that Space X has been able to successfully land their Falcon 9 craft after launch. Previous attempts to land their craft came close but each attempt suffered from minor malfunctions that resulted in a botched landing and subsequent explosions. This latest attempt was the first one to be made on land by Space X.
Reusable rockets are an important step in the evolution of space launches. Launches are expensive primarily because (up until this point), rockets are a one-time use vehicle. The design of the Falcon 9 will cut the cost of access to space by making most of the rocket reusable.