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162-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket.
162-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket.

First Rocket To Land In One Piece

Field review by the editors.

Hawthorne, California

This 162-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed back on Earth (Florida) on December 21, 2015, making it the first booster rocket ever to return to Earth intact for reuse (Several previous Falcon 9s had failed in the attempt). It was housed for a few months in a hangar at the Kennedy Space Center, then driven cross-country to SpaceX HQ in Hawthorne, where it has stood upright since August 2016.

At the time, SpaceX pointed out that its rockets were thoughtfully built thin enough to be trucked on highways -- unlike the bulky NASA Space Shuttle -- and that the only modification on this one was the little blinking light on top, required by the Federal Aviation Administration for airspace safety.


First Rocket To Land In One Piece

SpaceX HQ

Address:
Jack Northrop Ave., Hawthorne, CA
Directions:
I-105 exit 5. Eastbound, turn left onto W. 120th St., then right onto Crenshaw Blvd. Westbound, just turn left onto Crenshaw Blvd. Drive south a quarter-mile. You'll see the rocket on the right, at the corner of Crenshaw Blvd and Jack Northrop Ave.
Admission:
Free
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