SpaceX executes Sweet 16 launch (plus landing)

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rises from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida, sending the Koreasat-5A telecommunications satellite into space. (SpaceX Photo)

SpaceX executed its 16th Falcon 9 rocket launch of the year today, sending the Koreasat-5A telecommunications satellite into orbit and then having the first-stage booster fly itself back to an oceangoing launch pad.

The mission marked a doubling of SpaceX’s launch tally from last year and signaled that the California-based launch company is hitting its stride, 14 months after a launch pad accident dealt a setback to the Falcon 9 program.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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