SpaceX Falcon 9 landing: Elon Musk’s rocket just changed space travel forever

Elon Musk’s Falcon 9 rocket may have just changed the future of space travel. After several delays, Elon Musk’s SpaceX project launched its first Falcon 9 rocket in six months – and for the first time ever, the rocket was able to land in one piece. The launch, which took place at 1.33am this morning, was originally due to blast off yesterday, but Musk tweeted that an attempt today would have a 10% better chance at landing.

Why is the SpaceX Falcon 9 landing a game changer?

SpaceX’s test has shown that rockets can be reusable, and has also confirmed the viability of commercial spaceflight. After the government-funded Apollo missions, NASA and other space agencies looked for a reusable option for space travel – and that turned out to be the initially expensive Space Shuttle programme.

By finally nailing a landing, SpaceX has shown the world that rockets can also be reused, and that could reduce costs by a significant amount. While they might not be ready for human spaceflight just yet, the reusability of rockets means they could be used to cheaply and easily shuttle goods and supplies to space stations – or even future colonies.

It’s also a huge technical achievement. As Wait But Why puts it, “If you scale down all the sizes, it’s like firing a pencil over the top of a skyscraper and trying to land it on a shoe box on the ground—on a windy day.” 

Huge congratulations to Elon Musk and all the Space X team.

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