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SpaceX rehearses and relives rocket landings

Image: SpaceX Falcon 9 engine test
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket fires its engines during a launch-pad test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Monday evening. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX fired the engines of its Falcon 9 rocket on its California launch pad on Monday evening, marking a seemingly successful rehearsal for this weekend’s launch of the Jason 3 ocean-monitoring satellite.

But the rocket’s trickiest maneuver – flying its first-stage booster down to a landing on a platform in the Pacific Ocean – can’t be practiced in advance. For that, SpaceX will have to draw upon past experience, including last month’s rocket touchdown in Florida.

Today SpaceX released slick new footage of that launch and landing.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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