By Amy Thompson
Even Elon Musk was speechless – well, for a moment. Last night SpaceX launched and successfully landed an orbital rocket that had already flown once before: a first in space history.
I was one of the few hundred people who had travelled by bus to the Saturn V Center, part of Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to watch SpaceX attempt to deliver on the promise of reusable rockets. Benches were set up facing the strip of water that separated viewers from the fury of the nine engines powering SpaceX’s flagship rocket — the Falcon 9.
It wasn’t long before those benches were packed full of people; families who had travelled from near and far, some even planning their whole trip around this one mission.
The excitement grew as the minutes ticked away, inching us closer to launch time. A bald eagle perched nearby as we waited. Finally, at 6.27 pm Eastern Standard Time on 30 March, the Falcon 9 roared to life, filling the evening sky with the thunderous rumble of rocket engines. There was a loud cheer as the Falcon lifted off the launch pad, carrying a communications satellite into orbit.
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