The successful autonomous touchdown of the booster at sea marked another milestone for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and his privately owned Space Exploration Technologies in the quest to develop a cheap, reusable rocket, expanding his edge in the burgeoning commercial space launch industry. This comes after four unsuccessful attempts at this highly complex task. There are two more sea landings planned for later in 2016.
The lift-off at 4:43 pm EDT (2043 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Station also marked the resumption of resupply flights by SpaceX for NASA following a launch accident in June 2015 that destroyed an earlier cargo payload for the space station. About 2.5 minutes after Friday's launch, the main part of the 23-story tall, two-stage SpaceX rocket separated, turned around and headed toward a landing platform floating in the Atlantic about 185 miles north east of Cape Canaveral. A live video feed broadcast on NASA television showed the rocket booster, its four landing legs extended, descending over the ocean before settling itself upright on the barge-like platform, roughly eight minutes after launch.
More information can be found HERE on the why and how of landing rockets.