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SpaceX has successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket, several months after one of its rockets exploded on the launchpad.
The rocket was carrying ten communication satellites on Saturday, scheduled to be the first of up to 70 satellites for the Iridium company.
In what’s quickly becoming a regular part of Falcon 9 missions, the rocket’s first stage successfully landed on the barge, called ‘Just Read the Instructions’. In fact, the landing was almost perfect, the first stage coming down smoothly and on target.
“Mission looks good. Started deploying the 10 Iridium satellites. Rocket is stable on the droneship,” Musk tweeted on Saturday, shortly after the first stage landing.
The successful launch and landing comes after a Falcon 9 exploded in September 2016, as propellant was being loaded onto the rocket.
Saturday’s launch marks a return to business for SpaceX, after last year’s “rapid unscheduled disassembly”
Subsequent investigations found that “composite overwrapped pressure vessels” (COPVs), used to store helium, were the cause of the explosion.
“Specifically, the investigation team concluded the failure was likely due to the accumulation of oxygen between the COPV liner and overwrap in a void or a buckle in the liner, leading to ignition and the subsequent failure of the COPV,” SpaceX said in an update earlier this month.
The firm is expected to have a busy 2017 as it resumes resupply missions to the ISS and lofts more satellites into orbit. However, the company is also expected to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket and crewed Dragon capsule for the first time, marking a big step up in terms of capabilities.
Check out the launch video below (skip to the 19 minute mark for launch and 27 minute mark for landing):