A few days ago, SpaceX successfully returned a rocket from space back to a floating barge in the ocean.
The reason why this is meaningful is because, for space travel and shipping to become cost effective, it’s important that the rockets used to propel capsules carrying people and/or supplies into space be reusable. The first step in making this happen is to get the rocket back to Earth rather than having it explode after the capsule’s separation. SpaceX had achieved this before by successfully returning the rocket to land.
And this is where the second step comes in. It requires less fuel and is safer for people on Earth if the rocket returns to a nearby floating barge in the ocean rather than near people on land. This is what SpaceX just accomplished for the first time.
This doesn’t mean that each of SpaceX’s future attempts will be similarly successful. There will be failed future landings. But the more attempts SpaceX makes, the more it will learn. And that will help it get more successful with time. The first step is often the hardest, and SpaceX just successfully took its first step. This is a big achievement.
You can watch a short video of the landing below.