It happened while I was packing for a far less ambitious trip last night. As soon as I saw the news on my Twitter feed, I found the video and watched it again and again on my iPhone — beaming with elated joy.

At 32 minutes, 25 seconds into this SpaceX webcast, you can see their Falcon 9 first stage descend under control and land vertically, after successfully boosting its satellite delivery vehicle to an altitude of about 72km. The spectacular landing of the first stage is truly science fiction made reality, by dedicated and tireless effort and discipline of execution:

Tremendous congratulations are due to those at SpaceX who made this happen — made it look deceptively easy, even. The opening of a new frontier, with possibilities we can only as yet dimly imagine, will be made possible by advances such as this.

Here’s a low-altitude aerial view of just the first-stage landing: