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.

About Alan Boyle

Award-winning science writer, creator of Cosmic Log, 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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