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Watch this SpaceX rocket launch to 3280 feet, then land safely

Posting in Technology
 
 
And with that, we're one step closer to rocket reusability. 

That was the second launch of the Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) rocket from SpaceX. This launch quadrupled the height -- over 3280 feet -- that it was able to reach before hovering and returning safely to the launch pad. The F9R's maiden flight took place last month.

The move to the F9R can be considered rocket reusability 2.0 after the company upgraded from its Grasshopper prototype, which completed its last test in 2013

The next step for the rocket reusability program? Move to New Mexico from its current launch site in Texas. As the description of the video SpaceX said: "F9R test flights in New Mexico will allow us to test at higher altitudes than we are permitted for at our test site in Texas, to do more with unpowered guidance and to prove out landing cases that are more-flight like."

SpaceX is betting that a major innovation in space exploration will be reusable rockets, with rockets being able to take multiple flights, like airplanes. The main reason: huge savings for the industry. And, of course, the chance to win some huge government contracts, for which the company has been fighting (and winning) in court for the chance to compete.

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— By on May 2, 2014, 10:26 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure