Minutes after a smooth launch of its Dragon spacecraft to the ISS this afternoon, SpaceX hit a long-standing goal: It landed the Falcon 9 rocket that had launched the spaceship back neatly on an ocean barge like it was nothing at all.
SpaceX has been sending Falcon 9s to land on the ocean barge the “Of Course I Still Love You” for months now, ever since it successfully made a landing on solid ground. Every rocket they sent, though, either tipped, exploded, or just narrowly missed making the landing. With this landing, the possibilities of where to land have suddenly become almost limitless, with anywhere that a barge can reach a possibility.
SpaceX engineers dropped a bit of a note of caution moments right after, noting that they still had to check and make sure the rocket was fully operational before they could declare complete success. But take a look at just how stable the Falcon looked 9 perched up on the drone minutes after its landing:
How could you not feel great about that?