SpaceX's most recent rocket landing looks like something out of science fiction

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When SpaceX gets it right, it really gets it right. 

The Elon Musk-founded private spaceflight successfully landed a Falcon 9 rocket back on Earth after launching a secret payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office to orbit. 

The landing — back on solid ground at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 in Cape Canaveral, Florida — looked surreal against the backdrop of a clear blue sky just after sunrise. 

Landing

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on May 1, 2017 at 6:44am PDT

Because SpaceX was launching at the Cape and not on a drone ship in the ocean, the company was able to track almost every stage of the landing using cameras on the Falcon 9 booster and off. 

One camera even caught the first stage of the Falcon 9 as it made its flip in the air to come back for a landing after sending the secret spy satellite on its way. 

We also got two shots of the rocket coming back to Earth the whole way down. 

Close-up of rocket stage separation, fast flip, boostback burn in a ring of fire and then landing burn

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on May 1, 2017 at 6:53am PDT

These landings look incredibly cool, yes, but they’re also key to SpaceX’s business plan. 

The private company wants to create a fleet of reusable rockets to reduce the cost of launching to space in the future. Instead of using a booster once and discarding it, SpaceX plans to use its rockets multiple times for many different missions, refurbishing them in between. 

SpaceX already relaunched (and re-landed) a Falcon 9 booster that had previously been to space, and the company plans to launch more soon.

Video credit: Storyful/SpaceX

WATCH: Why does SpaceX land rockets on barges?

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