LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

SpaceX Rocket Lands Safely On A Ship At Sea For the First Time

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from launch complex 40 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Friday.

Friday was a landmark day for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It launched into space a resupply capsule bearing a new inflatable habitat for the International Space Station. Then the rocket's "first stage" returned to Earth for a sea landing — without exploding.

Though the SpaceX rocket had successfully landed on solid ground before, the last attempt to land the rocket on a barge at sea ended in a fiery crash.

"The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off, carrying an inflatable space module that will be added to the station. NASA hopes this kind of expandable room in space could someday help astronauts get to Mars," NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports for our Newscast Unit. "As the rocket's second stage carried this cargo into orbit, the first stage did something unprecedented. It turned around, flew back to Earth and touched down vertically on a robotic barge floating off the coast of Florida."

As NPR's Joe Palca reported earlier this week, the idea for inflatable habitats in space dates back to the 1990s when "the space agency was trying to figure out how to get astronauts to Mars, without the crew going crazy living in a tiny capsule for months on end."

When it's folded up, the expandable room is about 6 feet by 6 feet, Joe says, but when inflated, "it's about 12 feet by 10 feet, approximately the size of a small RV."

The new habitat could mean more comfortable living during a future trip to Mars.

And the successful landing of the SpaceX rocket will mean much more affordable space travel, as SpaceX can reuse the expensive "first stage," Geoff says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)