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Falcon 9 Launches Orbcomm Satellites, First Stage Lands

spacex landing

OMAHA, Neb. — A SpaceX upgraded Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Dec. 21 and placed 11 Orbcomm satellites in orbit, while the first stage successfully landed back near the launch site at Cape Canaveral.

The upgraded Falcon 9 lifted off at 8:29 p.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Deployment of the 11 Orbcomm satellites started about 14 minutes after liftoff.

While the Falcon 9’s second stage ascended towards orbit, the first stage started a series of burns to head back to a decommissioned launch site called Landing Zone 1, several kilometers south of the launch site. The first stage touched down on the pad there nearly 1o minutes after liftoff and remained upright, according to webcast video of the landing attempt.

The launch and landing represents several major milestones for SpaceX. The launch was the first for the Falcon 9 since a failure in June on a cargo mission to the International Space Station. The launch was also the first of an upgraded version of the Falcon 9, with increased thrust and other improvements.

The landing at Landing Zone 1 was also the first time SpaceX had successfully landed the rocket’s first stage. Previous attempts on launches in January and April to land the first stage on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean failed, with the stages either crashing into the deck of the ship or toppling over upon landing.

SpaceNews.com

Source: Space News

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Falcon 9 Launches Orbcomm Satellites, First Stage Lands

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