Learn to understand first before commenting
Typical, clueless idiot posters.
The first stage recovery *experiment* was a "bonus objective" on Monday's flight. SpaceX wants to eventually make the rocket reusable, and the first step toward that goal is demonstrating the technical and economic viability of retrieving a used Falcon 9 first stage, refurbishing it and flying it again.
The company aims to reduce the landing error with initial controlled splashdowns in the ocean before attempting a vertical touchdown *on land* (i.e., the *real* objective). The company built two prototype Falcon 9 first stages used on short takeoff and landing hops at their test site in central Texas to prove the rocket's descent and guidance systems. Both worked fine, BTW.
Falcon 9's previous launch last April was the first time it flew with landing legs (Build a little, test a little, learn a little. What a concept, Anonymous Coward and Adam Foxton). Officials said the first stage achieved a soft, low-speed splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, but heavy waves battered and destroyed the vehicle before ground crews could get to it.