In December, spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX made history with the successful launch — and landing — of its Falcon 9 rocket. If you haven’t peeped the video yet, it’s like experiencing the best parts of a Michael Bay movie IRL (e.g. cool stuff!! fire!!) without having to watch the mind-numbingly painful parts (i.e. everything else in Michael Bay movies.)
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 22, 2015
Though it’s back on Earth, Falon 9’s journey is far from over — in fact, if all goes according to plan, the rocket is just getting started. On New Year’s Eve, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted a photo of Falcon 9, adding that there’s “no damage found,” and that it’s “ready to fire again.”
Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again. https://t.co/7w6IfJGtXM
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 1, 2016
“To confirm that everything still works, SpaceX plans to perform a static test which would involve firing up the rocket again without actually launching it,” Popular Science reports. “This particular rocket probably won’t fly again–SpaceX wants to preserve the history-making booster for posterity. But knowing that it could fly again is important.”
In the past, Musk has been very outspoken about the merits of reusable rocket boosters and their potential impact on space travel. He believes reusable rockets could majorly cut costs associated with space travel, which Musk believes could have huge implications. “I think this is a critical step along the way towards being able to establish a city on Mars,” Musk told reporters in December after Falcon 9’s landing. “That’s what all this is about.”
But Musk is not alone in his ambition — Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos is also in the space race for creating reusable rockets. Bezos, who has created his own spaceflight company called “Blue Origin,” is giving SpaceX a run for its money — literally.
“To be able to do a vertical landing with a fully reusable booster stage is a really big deal,” Bezos said at a press conference in November. “It is the Holy Grail — to get full reuse.”
Let the games begin. Personally, we’re just excited for (potentially) cheaper, more accessible space travel for Earthlings.