SpaceX is getting ready for their first test launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. This rocket will be the most powerful rocket to launch since the Saturn V moon rockets in the 60’s and early 70’s. They are also still working on their rocket recovery system, and I believe that the next launch which should be within the month of March will have a successful recovery of a Falcon 9 rocket. Their tests are being conducted on a mobile landing pad out in the ocean, and once they prove the technology they will land back at the Kennedy Space Center complex where they launch. They are already building the landing pads which shows the level of confidence they have in the landing. They’ve tried once to land and they came within a few feet of doing so when it ran out of hydraulic fluid for control and it crashed on the landing pad. The fact that it returned to the location of the ship for landing was a HUGE success. Here is a sample of what we can expect to see over the next few years.
Launching satellites and things will be so much cheaper once you can reuse the major parts of the launch vehicle and not throw them out after one trip. As Elon Musk says, “can you imagine how expensive it would be to drive if you had to throw away the car after every trip”.