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SpaceX Lands Falcon 9 On A Barge At Sea (Again)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches at Cape Canaveral, Fla., early Friday morning, carrying a communications satellite into space.
SpaceX
/
Flickr
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches at Cape Canaveral, Fla., early Friday morning, carrying a communications satellite into space.

SpaceX has done it again. Launching from Cape Canaveral, Fla., early Friday morning, the company successfully landed part of its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating barge. A second part or "stage" continued into space, carrying a communications satellite.

SpaceX achieved the landing feat for the first time in April after a few spectacular failures — before that, it had only returned successfully to solid ground.

"Now, SpaceX has both demonstrated that it can land the Falcon 9 at sea, and that the company can repeat the process," The Verge reports.

It's not just a stunt. SpaceX founder Elon Musk hopes to reuse rockets. After Friday's success, Musk tweeted that he might need more room to store them.

With recent adjustments to the Falcon 9, Musk wasn't sure how the latest mission would go.

The rocket was deploying a Japanese satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit — when it reaches its final position, the satellite will orbit in a way that "it hangs seemingly motionless above a point on Earth," NASA says.

Here's a video of the launch, webcast live by SpaceX.

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Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.