A SpaceX rocket blasted off July 18 toward the International Space Station, carrying a load of supplies for the astronauts living in space, including equipment to enable future spaceships to park at the orbiting outpost. "Falcon 9 is on its way," said a commentator atSpaceX mission control as the white rocket launched under a dark night sky from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 12:45 am (0445 GMT). AFP FILE PHOTO
WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. space firm SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean again on Sunday, after launching a Japanese communications satellite into orbit.
This year, the California-based company has made a total of six rocket recovery attempts, one on land and five on sea. Only one sea-based landing attempt in June failed.
This time, the two-stage Falcon 9 lifted off on schedule at 1:26 a.m. EDT (0526 GMT) from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying JCSAT-16 toward a geosynchronous transfer orbit.
Everything went smooth, with the rocket's first stage sticking a vertical landing about nine minutes after launch on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
All of these landing attempts were part of SpaceX's effort to produce a fully and rapidly reusable rocket, which the company said will dramatically reduce the cost of space transport.
Traditionally, rockets are designed for a single use only, burning up or crashing into the ocean after liftoff.
JCSAT-16 was the second communications satellite SpaceX has launched this year for Japan's SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, which offers a wide range of services including video distribution, data transfer communications in Asia, Russia, Oceania, Middle East and North America.