SpaceX –the unmanned Falcon spaceship –successfully landed recovering a rocket on an ocean platform for the first time marking a historic achievement, says the California-based company. As the rocket safely landed on the barge floating in the Atlantic Ocean, SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California reportedly burst out in cheers.
The Falcon 9 separated from the booster after about two-and-a-half minutes following the liftoff on 8 April from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The spaceship was launched in an attempt to make rockets recyclable in a bid to make space travel cheaper.
It is hoped the Falcon spaceship can be used to transport supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) in the future. The Dragon capsule is scheduled to reach the 260-mile-high space station by 10 April along with its 7,000lb (3,175kg) cargo.
Four previous attempts of at-the-sea landing had failed and the company's previous attempt of delivery to the space station in June 2015 resulted in flames after only two minutes. SpaceX, owned by Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk, has partnered with Nasa to launch the resupply missions to the ISS.
Speaking of the Dragon mission, ISS program manager Kirk Shireman said:"This vehicle, the Dragon vehicle, is really important for the International Space Station, it brings some very unique capabilities to ISS that are important. One is it has an external cargo capability, which is important, as you know we'll be launching the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module on this flight. So we're really looking forward to having that up on ISS.
"This will be the first one where we actually have humans interacting with that module. It is the future. We'll be using these, humans will be using these kinds of modules as we move further and further off the planet and actually as we inhabit low earth orbit. So I think it really is the next logical step in humans getting off the planet."