Wait a minute.... Did Elon Musk just hint SpaceX will fly its victorious Falcon 9 rocket a second time?! We knew reusability was the long-term plan, but if they pull it off on the first attempt it will bump their celebrations up to a whole new level.
We were all impressed when SpaceX literally landed spot-on its giant X earlier this month. But we thought that even though the landing was perfect, this particular Falcon 9 rocket would never fly again. But now thanks to a comment from SpaceX's leader, Elon Musk, we're not so sure:
Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again. https://t.co/7w6IfJGtXM
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 1, 2016
This probably means that the rocket is ready for test firing here on the ground to analyse what happened to it, then shoving it into a museum. Yet the phrasing is just ambiguous enough to raise eyebrows far too late on New Year's Eve to get formal comment on what's happening next.
Will the rocket suffer from first-astronaut system, doomed like Yuri Gagarin to be earthbound forever more? Or will it be the first to not just land, but launch again in a blaze of fiery glory?
Either way, the excellent condition of the rocket is certainly worthy of celebration. Congratulations, SpaceX, and may all your rockets come home safely.
Top image: Falcon 9 rocket first stage returned from space, landed safely, and back in the hanger without damage. Credit: SpaceX