Talk about high praise. SpaceX's stunningly successful rocket landing on a drone ship Friday (April 8) has won accolades from the highest office in the land, with President Barack Obama hailing the company's technological feat.
"Congrats SpaceX on landing a rocket at sea," Obama wrote in a Twitter post after the rocket landing. "It's because of innovators like you & NASA that America continues to lead in space exploration."
SpaceX landed a Falcon 9 rocket booster on its drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" after successfully launching an unmanned Dragon cargo ship filled with NASA supplies to the International Space Station. The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket launched from a pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:43 p.m. EDT (2043 GMT), with the second stage boosting the Dragon capsule into orbit while the first stage flawlessly touched down on its landing ship in the Atlantic Ocean. [More Awesome Photos of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Landing]
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, who is also the company's lead designer, was quick to respond to President Obama.
"@POTUS Thanks on behalf of the entire team at SpaceX!" Musk wrote.
This isn't the first time SpaceX has caught the attention of President Obama. In fact, in 2010 Obama visited SpaceX's launch site in Florida during a trip to NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
Friday's landing success was SpaceX's fifth attempt to land a Falcon 9 rocket at sea, and the company's second rocket landing overall. In December 2015, SpaceX successfully landed a Falcon 9 rocket on land during a commercial satellite launch.
SpaceX has been steadily developing its reusable rocket technology in order to dramatically lower the cost of spaceflight. Musk told reporters late Friday that he expects that the Falcon 9 rocket which landed today will fly again this year, possibly as soon as May or June.
Another private spaceflight company, the firm Blue Origin founded by Amazon CEO and billionaire Jeff Bezos, is also pursuing reusable rocket technology as part of its plan to launch passengers into suborbital space. Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket and Crew Capsule made their third launch and landing on April 2, just seven days before SpaceX's Falcon 9 landing.
SpaceX's Dragon is due to arrive at the International Space Station early Sunday (April 10). You can watch the Dragon arrival live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT).
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.