SpaceX has been developing the technology to reuse their rockets for a while now. If they can be successful in this demonstration, they’ll be on a path to significantly disrupt the launch vehicle business.
At 6:20 a.m. Eastern time [on Tuesday], one of SpaceXs Falcon 9 rockets is scheduled to lift off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on what is otherwise a routine unmanned cargo run to the International Space Station.
But this time, the company will attempt to land the first stage of the rocket intact on a barge floating in the Atlantic Ocean. After the booster falls away and the second stage continues pushing the payload to orbit, its engines will reignite to turn it around and guide it to a spot about 200 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla.