Despite Landing in One Piece, SpaceX's Reusable Rocket Won't Fly Again

By Gizmodo on at

SpaceX has successfully sent a first-stage booster to space, and then landed it vertically minutes later. It’s a proof of concept that is supposed to make space cheaper by reusing components, but this booster is destined to never fly again.

On a press call, Musk said “I think we’ll probably keep this one on the ground, just [because] it’s kind of unique, it’s the first one we’ve brought back.”

This isn’t quite the end of the road for Falcon 9, though—after transport back to SpaceX’s pad at Canaveral, it will be tied down with suitably giant chains and fired on land to verify that everything would work, if it needed to.

Not only did SpaceX land their Falcon 9 rocket, but they looked damn good while doing it. This is how to do a return-to-flight with style!

These Are the Most Bad-Ass Photos from the SpaceX Rocket LandingTop image: Landing of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Credit: SpaceX/Mika McKinnon

These Are the Most Bad-Ass Photos from the SpaceX Rocket LandingLaunch, reentry, and landing of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Image credit: SpaceX

These Are the Most Bad-Ass Photos from the SpaceX Rocket LandingWhat did the next stage do? Why, deploy 11 Orbcomm relay satellites! Image credit: SpaceX/Emily Lakdawalla

These Are the Most Bad-Ass Photos from the SpaceX Rocket LandingLaunch and landing in one long-exposure photograph. Image credit: SpaceX

These Are the Most Bad-Ass Photos from the SpaceX Rocket LandingFalcon 9 rocket first stage approaching Landing Zone 1. Image credit: SpaceX

These Are the Most Bad-Ass Photos from the SpaceX Rocket LandingHey there, Falcon 9 first stage! Nice to see you again, all upright and everything. Image credit: SpaceX

Missed the launch and landing? You can check out the entire launch replay, or skip to just the landing.


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