SpaceX successfully lands Falcon 9 rocket on its return-to-flight mission

Falcon 9 on the droneship after launching JCSAT-14 | Credit: SpaceX

Shortly before 10am on Saturday, the sounds of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket blasting off on its return-to-flight mission can be heard resonating through the air in Lompoc, Calif.

Minutes later, amid cheers and applause from spectators lining a busy street near the Vandenberg Air Force Base – the site of the launch – news of Falcon 9 successfully landing onto the “Just Read the Instructions” floating drone ship spread like wildfire. “It’s landed!” was heard from a group of SpaceX employees that had corralled near a pickup truck that was streaming the company’s live webcast.

SpaceX has successfully touched down in arguably the company’s most important flight since the first landing of its first-stage Falcon 9 rocket just one year ago. The highly anticipated flight follows a hiatus that began on September 1, 2016 after a pre-flight test resulted in the loss of a rocket, a multi-million dollar Facebook satellite, and use of the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. After months of investigation and a waiting period before the Federal Aviation Administration would approve of SpaceX’s accident investigation report, the young space company was set to relaunch on a new mission to transport ten next generation satellites into orbit for Virginia-based Iridium Communications.

A little over one hour after the initial launch, SpaceX took to twitter to confirm that the mission to deploy ten Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit was successful.

Watch a replay of the entire SpaceX webcast here.

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