Some quick thoughts on SpaceX’s attempt today:
This is their first launch failure. Whenever something doesn’t work as expected these guys really dig in to figure out what went wrong, and make sure it never happens again.
A fully reusable spacecraft (no, the space shuttle wasn’t fully reusable, only the orbiter was) is a big step forward. I’ve heard that a rocket costs as much as a 747 to build. Up until now, we have been in the, to quote Indiana Jones, “Fly? Yes! Land? No!” stage of space flight. This technology means that the same rocket can have years of service, rather than moments, which will drastically reduce the price of space flight.