Looks like the engineering teams at SpaceX did things right – the 1st stage of the Falcon 9 rocket for the SES-10 launch, which was used last April for the CRS-8 Mission, not only flew successfully, apparently they re-landed the stage on a drone ship in the ocean. Again.
Yeah, the stage successfully launched and landed. Again.
Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves – The Falcon 9 was designed with this reusability in mind. It was a goal of it from the start, and using modern engine design ethos, it only makes sense they would in the end get it right. NASA designed the Space Shuttle to be mostly reusable, and while that design was heavily compromised, it still was the first. SpaceX Falcon 9 is the second reusable space booster… well, the first stage is. The second stage is still lost in orbit, although I would imagine they have plans to make that recoverable as well, which will be the real accomplishment.
I’m not trying to knock SpaceX here, only keep it in perspective. Hell, NASA was planning on recovering and re-flying boosters as far back as the 1960’s, but budget cuts kept them from being able to do such (I should write more on that in the near future.) It isn’t like this idea is new: SpaceX simply has the resources to be able to do it, and they worked towards that goal. NASA would have accomplished the same 50 years ago had budgets stayed high, but that’s another discussion for another time.
Again, Good Job SpaceX. Good Job.
Now, as per standard procedure here, we have the webcasts for the launch: