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Screenshot of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket flyback test in April. Although the first stage touched down softly on the floating landing platform in the Atlantic Ocean, it toppled over and exploded. | SpaceX
Tech

How to Fly Rockets Back to Earth

On Sunday, SpaceX hopes to land a Falcon 9 rocket after delivering its payload to space -- but this isn't the only rocket return game in town.

Published On 06/27/2015
9:00 PM EDT
Artist's impression of the Airbus Adeline vehicle -- that will contain a rocket's first stage and avionics -- landing like a conventional drone aircraft. | Airbus
Artist's impression of a launching ULA Vulcan rocket. Later designs will incorporate a rocket-return system called SMART, an acronym for Sensible, Modular, Autonomous Return Technology. | ULA
Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket launces during a test flight on April 29. | Blue Origin
One of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters parachute back to Earth after a 2009 launch, splashing down off the coast of Florida. | NASA