SpaceX relaunches and re-lands a rocket!

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch

SpaceX’s first reflown Falcon 9 booster rises from its Florida launch pad. (SpaceX Photo)

Today SpaceX did something it’s never done before: reusing a Falcon 9 rocket booster that’s already been launched and landed.

The Falcon 9 mission to send the SES-10 communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit lifted off at 6:27 p.m. ET (3:27 p.m. PT) from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, marking a milestone in SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s drive to lower the cost of access to space.

More remarkably, the booster landed once more at sea after sending a payload into orbit. SpaceX was even able to bring the rocket’s payload fairing down for a parachute-aided splashdown in the Atlantic, Musk reported afterward.

“It’s an amazing day for space as a whole, for the space industry,” he said just after the landing. He paid tribute to the SpaceX team, saying “it’s been 15 years to get to this point.”

As he spoke, hundreds of SpaceX’s employees were cheering at the company’s California headquarters, and the launch webcast was getting 140,000 simultaneous views.

Get the full story on 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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