The footage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket landing on a drone ship is well worth viewing 1 month ago

The footage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket landing on a drone ship is well worth viewing

Saturday's launch was a significant moment.

On Saturday, SpaceX successfully launched two astronauts into orbit beginning a new age of spaceflight for the United States.

It marked the first time astronauts have been launched from American soil in nearly a decade.

The launch, named Demo-2, represented the culmination of nearly a decade of work by NASA and SpaceX under the Commercial Crew Programme.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket left the pad at the Kennedy Space Centre on Saturday afternoon local time to begin its flight to the International Space Station.

The rocket dropped the Crew Dragon capsule, carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, into orbit just 12 minutes later before detaching and returning to Earth and successfully landing on the 'Of Course I Still Love You' drone ship.

This one from a recent test flight will give you a better idea of what it's like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm__ZSLc6Is

Saturday's launch was a big event but was there such a significant public interest in sending two more astronauts to the International Space Station.

Firstly, as mentioned above, it is the first launch of astronauts from US soil in nearly a decade, during that period the US purchased seats on board the Russian Soyuz spacecraft - at $80 million per seat - in order to get boots to the International Space Station. The launch ends the Russian monopoly on manned spaceflights.

Secondly, and more significantly, Saturday's launch heralds the era of profit-driven space exploration with SpaceX at the forefront.

During a remote press conference this week, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine left no doubt about the eventual aim of the project.

“We need to build commercial space stations,” Bridenstine said.

“And in order to create the market where these kinds of programs can be capitalised with public-private partnerships, we need to prove that there is an economy for human activity in low Earth orbit.”

SpaceX has already announced a new partnership that will send four private citizens into orbit as early as 2021 for an undisclosed price.