Elon Musk's SpaceX rockets are intended to be reusable - and yes, they are intended to land on their tails. Take a look at this video, which combines Johnny Cash Ring of Fire action with actual tail fire-enabled take-offs and landings.
(SpaceX Johnny Cash Ring of Fire mashup)
SpaceX is currently working on a reusable rocket prototype, one that could “land safely anywhere on earth like a helicopter” after sending a given craft hurtling beyond our atmosphere to its destination. And damned if the company isn’t already part of the way there: Musk brought with him a video — set to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” — of a successful test of one of its 10-storey-high Grasshopper rising from a launchpad, hovering in the air for a short time and then softly descending to the ground on a cushion of boosters and landing gears. The test apparently only occurred “about a day and a half ago.”
“Yeah, so it worked. You’re the first people to see that video — even including SpaceX — apart from the video editor who sent it to me half an hour before this,” said Musk. “So far I’ve not been very successful in that regard, but I think we’ve got a handle on it.”
Now, of course, the goal is to go “higher and further.” All in service, Musk says, of putting the prospect of establishing a human base on another planet — Mars is the dream — within our technological and economic reach.
“It’s really got nothing to do with competing with NASA. It’s more about what do we do to have an exciting and inspiring future in space,” he said. “People need to believe that it’s possible, and that it isn’t going to bankrupt them, (that) they’re not going to have to give up health care.”