SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster steered toward a first-ever landing on a drone ship floating 185 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean minutes after blasting off from Florida with a space station cargo ship.
The 156-foot-tall booster, slowed by one of its Merlin rocket engines, descended to the football field-sized vessel about 8 minutes, 35 seconds after liftoff.
The Falcon 9 took off from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad at 4:43:31 p.m. EDT (2043:31 GMT) with a Dragon cargo capsule heading for the International Space Station with 3.5 tons of supplies and experiments.
SpaceX has landed a Falcon 9 booster on the ground before, but Friday’s recovery marked the first time the rocket has successfully touched down on a floating landing platform after four previous tries.
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