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Landing a space rocket back to Earth (or on a floating barge) is no easy matter. Accordingly, the USA’s National Space Society has given its Pioneer Award to Elon Musk-s SpaceX rocket company for its achievements.
This award recognises SpaceX’s recent major achievement, the historic first landing of the Falcon 9 rocket on December 21st 2015, which was a major step toward fulfilling one of the major “holy grail” quests of the space community—reusability, and thus cost-savings of potentially about $30 million per re-used rocket.
The December flight marked the first successful vertical landing by a large first-stage rocket, which reached space and whose second stage carried a payload into orbit. Creating reusable rockets is a fundamental requirement for spaceflight to be inexpensive enough for general and large-scale use.
Josh Brost, Director of Government Business Development at SpaceX, accepted the award in the name of SpaceX on May 20 at the National Space Society’s 2016 International Space Development Conference.
Some of the recent winners of Space Pioneer Awards include Elon Musk himself, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bigelow, citizen astronaut Anousheh Ansari, Dr. Kip Thorne, and the European Space Agency (ESA) Rosetta mission team.