Entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX company nailed a first by safely landing a rocket on a commercial flight. Returning rockets could make future launches cheaper. Fred Katayama reports.
A comeback in space for Elon Musk. The billionaire entrepreneur's SpaceX rocket successfully blasted off Monday night. Then ten minutes later, just as scripted, the main stage separated, plummeted and nailed a first: a safe landing near its launch pad as crowds cheered. The upper stage booster continued its climb and delivered 11 commercial satellites to orbit. It was SpaceX's first flight since its June accident that destroyed a cargo ship. An exuberant Musk tweeted, "Welcome back, baby!" Rival billionaire Jeff Bezos, who runs space startup Blue Origin in addition to Amazon.com, tweeted, "Welcome to the Club!" His reusable rocket also nailed its test landing last month. But Musk's stakes were higher because SpaceX carried out a commercial mission. The landing was especially momentous - not just for bragging rights - but for its impact on costs. Returning rockets to Earth means they could potentially be refurbished and reflown. That would help make future launches more affordable. Staking neutral ground, venture capitalist Marc Andreesen tweeted: "Competition is wonderful."