Obama hails rocket landing in tweetfest

Image: President Obama and Elon Musk
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shows President Barack Obama around the company’s Cape Canaveral rocket processing site in 2010. (Credit: Bill Ingalls / NASA)

SpaceX’s first-ever at-sea rocket landing was cause for a Twitter celebration that drew in President Barack Obama as well as other space-loving luminaries.

SpaceX used its two-stage Falcon 9 rocket on Friday to send a Dragon cargo capsule on its way to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Minutes later, the rocket’s first stage guided itself back from the edge of space and settled onto an autonomous drone ship, hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic Ocean.

Today the Dragon is heading toward a rendezvous with the space station, with a robotic-arm grapple maneuver scheduled for about 7 a.m. ET (4 a.m. PT) Sunday. You can watch the operation starting at 5:30 a.m. ET (2:30 a.m. PT) via NASA TV. Meanwhile, the drone ship is making its way back to Port Canaveral, where the rocket stage will be offloaded for testing and probable reuse.

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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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