Jethr0 wrote in post #18519092
Regardless. An awesome sequence. I didn’t know they were doing that kind of thing.
Yes, it has become somewhat common (although spaceflight is never "routine"). SpaceX attempts to land and re-use their first stage whenever possible. Sometimes they need every ounce of fuel to hit desired orbits with heavy payloads, and when that happens, the booster is "expendable", which means it falls back and into the ocean like everybody else's launch. Sometimes they land on a barge at sea when the fuel-distance equation won't allow them to fly all the way back to launch site.
There is a new company out there, Blue Origins, that intends to start launching from Cape Canaveral perhaps as early as next year. They will also land their booster back and re-use it. They plan to use liquid natural gas (LNG) as their fuel, which will be a first (and very exciting too).
ULA is designing the Vulcan rocket, which, if they follow through, will have a very unique and amazing fly-back/re-use scheme. Too detailed for here, but very promising. Google can get you details on their scheme if you are interested . . .