SpaceX has successfully landed one of its Falcon 9 rockets for the first time. It's a significant accomplishment albeit one that's a bit overshadowed as one of the company's main rivals pulled off the same feat nearly a month earlier.
The latest Falcon 9 mission launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 8:29 p.m. on Monday, carrying a payload of 11 commercial satellites. Roughly two and a half minutes later, the first stage rocket broke free to begin its descent back to earth. The 14-story-tall rocket safely touched down about 10 minutes after launch; pandemonium broke out among SpaceX employees.
The cargo, meanwhile, was safely deployed into orbit roughly 500 miles up.
While Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin may have beaten Elon Musk and SpaceX to the punch, it's worth pointing out that Blue Origin's rocket was a smaller stage that traveled slower and not as far into space as the Falcon 9.
This is the first mission for SpaceX since June when one of its Falcon 9 rockets carrying cargo to the International Space Station exploded shortly after takeoff.