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SpaceX Nails Another Landing at Sea—This Time in the Pacific!

14 Jan 2017, 23:29 UTC
SpaceX Nails Another Landing at Sea—This Time in the Pacific!
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Falcon 9 first stage after a bullseye landing on the deck of Just Read the Instructions on Jan. 14, 2017. (SpaceX live video)
Today, January 14, 2017, SpaceX achieved another commercial launch success with the delivery of ten Iridium satellites to orbit—the first of 70 that will comprise the next generation IridiumNext constellation—as well as a new milestone in its ongoing trek toward reusable launch capability: the first successful landing of a Falcon 9 first-stage booster on its Pacific-based autonomous drone ship, Just Read the Instructions.

Just eight minutes and 22 seconds after the Falcon 9 lifted off from the pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, located on the coast of California just north of Santa Barbara, the depleted first stage touched down on the deck of the drone ship stationed out in the Pacific. It was the first west coast success for SpaceX and the fourth sea landing overall, with the previous three having occurred on its Atlantic ship, Of Course I Still Love You. (The ship names are from a series of science fiction books by Iain M. Banks, who passed away in June 2013.) One other successful booster landing also took place on land after a higher-altitude ...

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