Actual space history was just made, and it had absolutely nothing to do with 'Star Wars.'

Actual space history was just made, and it had absolutely nothing to do with 'Star Wars.'
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Forget that movie and all its non-science-based space stuff for a second and check out the actual breakthrough in space travel that happened December 21. SpaceX launched a rocket into space, put 11 satellites into orbit, and then vertically landed the rocket back on earth at Cape Canaveral, FL. As one engineer put it, the insane scale and precision of the operation would be like launching a pencil over the Empire State Building and getting it to land in a shoebox on the other side standing up on its eraser...in a windstorm.

Listening to the reaction of the engineers at mission control as it lands, you get some idea of how hard this team has been working on it. Here's another view, from a helicopter hovering near the landing pad:

SpaceX has attempted this before several times, but the previous failed landings have actually been in even tougher situations—specifically, landing on a remote-controlled barge in the middle of the ocean. Maybe SpaceX wanted to make sure they nailed it this time and skip the barge-testing process after rival company Blue Origin (owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos) sent a rocket 100km up and landed it vertically on November 25. Here's SpaceX founder Elon Musk reacting to the landing:

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If you'd like to really re-live the mission, here's the full official video of the entire mission from launch to landing.

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