Following a launch on April 8, SpaceX has just pulled off one of its most elusive feats; they've now successfully landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket on a barge. The 5th time's the charm!
The mission's number one priority was to send a Dragon capsule full of supplies (including a nifty inflatable habitat) to the ISS, the first mission of its type since SpaceX's spectacular failure last June. But now, both the cargo delivery mission and the barge landing have gone off without a hitch, and it's a magnificent accomplishment.
This isn't SpaceX's first upright landing; that occurred in December of last year, though on the slightly more accommodating landing pad of unmoving land. And before that, Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin achieved similar success, though from a much lower altitude.
But all the while, SpaceX has had its eye on a successful barge landing after a series of fiery failures. This landing, while momentous, is only the first. Continued vertical landings will allow for the re-use of a rocket's first stage and make the process of ferrying things to space much cheaper and easier. The Falcon 9 standing there on that barge isn't just a momentary victory; it's part of a whole new age of space flight.
From: Popular Mechanics.