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SpaceX gets back to launching – and landing!

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. (SpaceX Photo)

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off for the first time in five months to put 10 advanced Iridium Next telecommunication sateliites in orbit – and demonstrate that the company’s innovative launch-and-landing system was back in stride.

Cheers went up from a crowd of hundreds of SpaceX employees at the company’s headquarters as they watched the rocket ascend from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base at 9:54 a.m. PT. The cheers rose again minutes later when the Falcon 9’s first stage landed on a drone ship in the Pacific for the first time.

Today’s liftoff came after a spectacular launch pad explosion on Sept. 1 that destroyed a different Falcon 9 and its $200 million Amos-6 satellite payload.

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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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