SpaceX has for the first time sent a reused rocket back into space, marking a key milestone for Elon Musk's ambitious enterprise.
The company launched one of its Falcon 9 rockets from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida last night. It was the second time the booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket, had been used after a launch in April last year.
After delivering its payload to space the booster detached and landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, ready to be refueled and launched yet again.
"It’s really a great day, not just for SpaceX but for the space industry as a whole and proving that something could be done that many people said was impossible," Musk said during a live broadcast of the launch.
"This is going to be a huge revolution for spaceflight. It's been 15 years to get to this point. I'm at a loss for words."
Before SpaceX the boosters of rockets would fall into the ocean or back to earth and never be used again. Recycling them could reduce the cost of $62-million Falcon 9 rocket launch by 30 percent, around $18 million, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's COO, has said.
In a video that aired before the launch Ms Shotwell said the successful launch would "allow people to live on other planets", in a reference to SpaceX's goal of launching manned missions to Mars.
Yesterday's launch delivered a satellite into space that will be used to provide internet and television coverage to large parts of Central and South America.