Last night SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit and landed the first stage vertically on a Cape Canaveral pad. It was kind of a big deal. This was a huge success after two previous failures, and CEO Elon Musk was pumped:
The goal of reusability has been a holy grail for private spaceflight industry, since recovering key components of the spacecraft could dramatically bring down the price of getting stuff and people into space.
Last month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin managed a landing as well, another milestone for the industry, though it was a less ambitious project all around, with a smaller craft going slower and returning from a lesser height.
Before this year, rockets boosters were incredibly expensive feats of engineering that became incredibly expensive garbage as soon as they served their function. Musk and Bezos' obsession with reusability is about the bottom line, bringing down the cost of getting stuff off the surface of the earth is a crucial precondition to all kinds of space-based industries and ventures, such as asteroid mining—though the primary commercial application at the moment is satellites.
In case the whole thing wasn't nerdy enough for you, here's one more tweet from Musk, who seems to have gone full Bilbo:
And for more, check out Reason TV: "When Can I Buy My Ticket to Outer Space?"