SpaceX lands rocket after satellite launch: first time an unmanned rocket returned to land vertically

Date: December 22, 2015

falcon space programe ISS

SpaceX sent a Falcon rocket soaring towards the orbit Monday night with 11 small satellites, its first mission since an accident last summer. Then in an even more astounding feat, it landed the 15-storey 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 reusability to drive launch costs down and open up space to more people.

space x

On its previous flight back in June, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket failed shortly after liftoff, destroying a supply ship intended for the International Space Station. A snapped strut in the upper stage was to blame.

SpaceX spent months correcting the problem and improving the unmanned rocket. It hopes to resume supply runs for NASA in February.