Haute 100: Elon Musk Celebrates SpaceX Rocket Launch & Landing


Haute 100 lister Elon Musk is a happy man today, as he celebrates SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully landing upright on solid ground at Cape Canaveral, Florida Monday evening after traveling into space and back.

Monday night’s mission was the first time SpaceX has been able to successfully touch down the Falcon 9 post-launch. It was also the first mission SpaceX has launched since June, after one of its Falcon 9 rockets was destroyed in an accident while en route to the International Space Station.

The SpaceX ORBCOMM-2 mission was to deliver 11 satellites to low-Earth orbit. The 11 satellites were deployed approximately 20 minutes after liftoff, completing a 17-satellite, low-Earth orbit constellation for ORBCOMM. This mission also marks SpaceX’s return-to-flight as well as its first mission to land a first stage on land. The landing of the first stage is a secondary test objective.

The satellites used in the mission will provide machine-to-machine messaging services on the ground, such as between retailers and shipping containers. According to SpaceX, The ORBCOMM network uses low-Earth orbit satellites to provide reliable and cost-effective machine-to-machine communications to and from the most remote areas of the world.

Speaking to reporters, Musk said: “It’s a revolutionary moment. No one has ever brought a booster, an orbital-class booster, back intact.” He added, “We achieved recovery of the rocket in a mission that actually deployed 11 satellites.”

SpaceX has tried this landing twice before—once in January and again in April. The company attempted to land the first stage of the Falcon 9, a 14-story tall portion of the rocket body, on a floating platform out in the middle of the ocean. The rockets fell over and exploded both times.

Most recently, Musk joined forces with fellow Silicon Valley high-tech entrepreneurs to contribute $1 billion to finance OpenAl, a non-profit artificial intelligence research company. The company will focus on advancing artificial intelligence or “machine learning.” Along with Sam Altman, Musk will be a co-chair for OpenAl.

Watch the entire webcast here.