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After launch, SpaceX aces tricky rocket landing

Image: SpaceX Falcon landing
The first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket stands upright on a drone ship after landing at sea. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX increased the degree of difficulty for tonight’s Falcon 9 rocket landing attempt at sea after launching a Japanese satellite into a super-high orbit – but the feat came off successfully nevertheless.

The California-based company’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, downplayed the odds of success before the launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:21 p.m. PT (1:21 a.m. ET Friday). “Rocket re-entry is a lot faster and hotter than last time, so odds of making it are maybe even, but we should learn a lot either way,” he tweeted.

Moments after the Falcon 9’s first stage landed on a drone ship, hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic Ocean, Musk tweeted just one word.

Get the word from GeekWire.

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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