Reusing a first-stage booster that was first utilized for a mission 11 months ago, SpaceX launched a communications satellite from Kennedy Space Center on Thursday.
Shortly after the launch, the rocket made its way back to Earth and landed vertically on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean. First-stage rockets are expensive to make and typically crash back down to Earth, never to be used again, but SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk wants to recycle them in order to save money. "I try to tell my team to imagine that there was a pallet of cash that was plummeting through the atmosphere, and it was going to burn up and smash into tiny pieces, would you try to save it? Probably yes," he said in 2016.
By lowering the costs of launching a rocket, companies could send more — and better — satellites into space. SpaceX's next step is to figure out how many times these rockets can be reused.