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Mon, Dec 21, 2015

SUCCESS!! SpaceX Lands Falcon 9 Booster At Cape Canaveral

Orbcomm Satellites Successfully Delivered To Orbit

SpaceX is back in the launch business, and now in the reusable booster business as well.

A picture-perfect launch Monday night carried 11 satellites into orbit for Orbcomm, but that was not the big news of the night.

After multiple unsuccessful attempts to land a booster on a floating platform in the Atlantic ocean, this time SpaceX brought its rocket back to a recently-constructed landing pad at Cape Canaveral, and it landed just like it belonged there.

In contrast to what we're used to with mostly reserved, if not staid launches from NASA, the crowd at SpaceX was boisterous, cheering as the booster cleared each milestone. The cheering increased as the booster came back to earth and touched down on target, upright, looking like it was immediately ready to fly again. One of the commentators on the SpaceX live webcast likened the feat to "launching a pencil over the Empire State Building, having it reverse course, and landing it back on a shoebox in a windstorm."

The flight marks the first launch for SpaceX since it lost a rocket in June on an ISS resupply mission. That loss was traced the failure of a strut which secured a helium tank in the spacecraft’s upper stage. Monday night's launch, however, went exactly as planned. SpaceX reported on Facebook that all 11 satellites had reached their prescribed orbits, and for the first time ever a booster was recovered on land intact from an orbital-insertion mission back on Earth.

(Image of landed Falcon 9 booster from SpaceX webcast posted to Facebook)

FMI: www.spacex.com

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