After multiple trials and errors, Elon Musk’s SpaceX finally made history by successfully launching its Falcon 9 rocket into space and returning it to its landing pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in one piece.
The spaceflight company sent its Falcon 9 rocket soaring toward orbit Monday night, with the mission to deploy 11 OrbComm satellites to low Earth orbit.
Two minutes into the flight, the rocket deployed its first stage, the leftover 15-story booster, which landed safely back on Earth amid cheers and applause.
Needless to say, it was a tremendous success for SpaceX — especially since it’s the first time someone has landed a rocket that has gone as deep into space. Previously, the firm had only attempted to land two of its rockets on a drone ship in the Atlantic, but neither of the launches turned out to be a success.
“It's a revolutionary moment,” Musk later told reporters. "No one has ever brought a booster, an orbital-class booster, back intact.”
11 satellites deployed to target orbit and Falcon has landed back at Cape Canaveral. Headed to LZ-1. Welcome back, baby!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2015
SpaceX also tweeted out an incredible image of all three critical stages:
Long exposure of launch, re-entry, and landing burns pic.twitter.com/Vw1ZJAtvhy— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 22, 2015
This was also the first time the company has flown since June, after one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded en route to the International Space Station.
It's also not the first time a rocket has landed upright after launching into space. Earlier in November, Jeff Bezos’ private spaceflight company Blue Origin landed its rocket New Shepard after it traveled into the space. However, Musk's rocket is far more complex than Bezos’.
Congrats @SpaceX on landing Falcon's suborbital booster stage. Welcome to the club!— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) December 22, 2015
Watch the historic — and extremely dramatic — landing of Falcon 9 rocket in the video above.