SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket took off from the historic seaside launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Monday and powered a classified NRO spy satellite into space, then the launcher’s first stage descended to a vertical landing at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, producing spectacular video as the booster maneuvered in the morning sky.
This video shows the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket’s launch at 7:15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT), stage separation, then landing about nine minutes later. Powerful long-range tracking cameras kept watch of the Falcon 9’s 14-story first stage throughout the flight, showing its flip maneuver and three braking burns to slow down for landing.
Monday’s mission marked the 33rd flight of a Falcon 9 rocket, and the fourth time one of the vehicle’s first stages has landed at Cape Canaveral.
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