SpaceX Tests Precision Landing Gear

Up, up, and away!
Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

SpaceX, the private company that is pushing the boundaries of space exploration and travel, conducted a test launch on June 14. This YouTube video shows the 10-story Grasshopper rocket reaching 1066 feet before smoothly descending and landing on the launch pad. The landing utilized precision landing technology that includes higher-accuracy sensors than previous rockets.

The company is attempting to design a rocket that will return to Earth intact after space missions. Most rockets are designed to burn up as they return to Earth's atmosphere. Taking the goal one step further, SpaceX is working towards a rocket that will handle reentry while landing vertically on the launch pad.

The successful landing adds to SpaceX's growing list of firsts. In 2010, it was the first commercial company to launch, fly and recover a spacecraft from Earth's orbit. It was also first to launch a space vehicle into orbit and successfully dock it at the International Space Station.

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    Danielle Elliot is a freelance science editor and reporter for CBS News. She holds an M.A. in science and health journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland. Follow her on Twitter - @daniellelliot.