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SpaceX Sticks The Landing In Triumphant Return by Marina Koren
Review by Charles Mohapel
The Atlantic, SpaceX News  ISBN/ITEM#: CM170115SPACEX
Date: 15 January 2017

Links: The Atlantic Article / SpaceX -- Iridium-1 Webcast / Iridium-1 Mission Press Release /

For the first time since September 1, 2016 when a Falcon 9 rocket loaded with Facebook's $200 million Amos-6 satellite, was destroyed in a catastrophic accident on a launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida., SpaceX successfully launched another Falcon 9 rocket and then the first stage returned to Earth and landed on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.  It's good to see them succeeding once again.

Photo: Falcon 9 rockets at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida

After a four-month launch hiatus, the company's Falcon 9 rocket successfully sent a communications satellite into orbit and returned its first stage to a floating robotic barge.

SpaceX successfully launched a rocket into orbit Saturday for the first time since a launchpad explosion last fall destroyed another rocket and its $200 million payload, just days before their scheduled flight.

The Falcon 9 rocket launched from a U.S. Air Force base in California’s central coast, carrying 10 satellites for Virginia-based communications company Iridium.  Its first stage then returned to Earth and landed on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean, a maneuver the spaceflight company has completed several times already.

The successful launch restores some momentum for Elon Musk's SpaceX.  The company went into hibernation after its rocket and the Israeli communications satellite on board went up in flames during a fueling process.  SpaceX, along with several federal aviation and transportation agencies, spent four months investigating the incident.  It announced the results earlier this month, saying the explosion was caused by a failure of the rocket's helium tanks.

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