SpaceX launch succeeds, with N.J. company's satellites in tow

Will 2016 be the year Elon Musk reveals his Mars colonial transporter plans

As the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket landed back at Cape Canaveral on Monday night after blasting 11 satellites into orbit, company employees clapped and cheered. Elon Musk's company, SpaceX, has been striving to cut down the cost of space travel, and they took a major step in the right direction on December 21 by successfully launching a rocket that returned to Earth completely intact for reuse.

SpaceX is one of several companies contracted by the USA space agency NASA to ferry supplies, and, eventually, astronauts to the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.

This graphic provided by SpaceX illustrates the landing sequence of the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket.

Will 2016 be the year Elon Musk reveals his Mars colonial transporter plans
SpaceX launch succeeds, with N.J. company's satellites in tow

SpaceX switched to a new supplier for the steel struts and upgraded its testing program, Musk later told reporters. After the satellites continued into space, the booster engines turned around and landed safely back at Cape Canaveral. The first stage of the rocket is very expensive and so far, landings at sea have failed. Then the roar became deafening as TV cameras showed the first-stage booster landing on a giant X at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

On SpaceX's official explanation of the mission, it's even noted that testing the landing capabilities is a secondary objective. The rocket made it to the drone ship, but landed hard. Its plan was originally for a vertical rocket landing on an autonomous drone spaceport in the ocean, but those landing attempts did not succeed.

According to NBC News, SpaceX launched its rocket Monday from the Cape Canaveral base in Florida. It was also the second of its type of achievement in a month, following the landing of a rocket by Jeff Bezos owned Blue Origin. The Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to highlight the importance of achieving orbit after Blue Origin's successful landing.

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