This is a big deal. They’ve failed several times previously to land on the ship, but now have done it successfully. They got a lot of good data from the failures, and have certainly got some very good data from this success.
Recovering the launch stage, which is designed for reuse, will help tremendously in reducing the cost of future launches. This recovery is part of that goal, because not all the launches take a profile that allows the launcher to return all the way back to the pad. By being able to even semi-reliably recover the launch stage after landing it on a ship, they’ll have much more flexibility in reducing the cost of future missions. After all, oceans are the majority of the Earth’s surface, and a ship can be positioned just about anywhere in one; wherever the launch needs it to be.
Here’s the video. Back up to the beginning to get the full briefing that SpaceX provided to explain things to us non-engineers, but the link here jumps directly to the beginning of the sequence that brought the first stage back to the barge, and then landing it. The exact final landing starts at 27:20. And here’s a Reddit link that answers some common questions.
Very exciting stuff. Go Space X!!!
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