Without missing a beat, SpaceX’s Falcon 9R rocket this week demonstrated its ability to take off, hover, and land in the same spot, almost as if it was some routine training exercise. The video is stunning; with acres of flatland as a backdrop, the rocket gently rises up toward a clear blue sky, almost enjoying the view around it. It’s incredible how effortless something so complicated looks. SpaceX’s goal with the test flight is to one day reuse its Falcon rockets after shuttling supplies to the ISS, which it actually just did last month, in future resupply missions.
The video is almost serene—that wide shot with the cows is hugely cinematic, almost as though this is some big Hollywood production. But, nope, just a private company proving it has the technology necessary to land its rockets after a mission. This concept is still in the early stages, mind you, and isn’t quite ready to start shuttling cargo to the ISS and beyond just yet. But if SpaceX can continue to successfully soft-land its rockets, the company might be able to dramatically reduce costs by up to 70-percent in the future. Even better, the company could even use the technology during a future Mars mission.
At the end of last month, SpaceX again demonstrated the abilities of its Falcon 9R, taking it to a height of 250m before landing back on Earth. At this rate, the company might be able to launch and then safely land a rocket from Earth’s orbit before the year is up. In SpaceX’s launch to the ISS in April, the company successfully soft-landed a Falcon 9 rocket, though it came down a few miles away from its intended target (and into the ocean). But the progress is promising, and definitely shows the private company is on the right track.