October 18, 2018

Photos: Falcon 9 lifts off from Cape Canaveral, returns for landing


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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket closed out a busy 2017 Cape Canaveral launch schedule on Dec. 15 with a successful liftoff on a space station resupply mission. The Falcon 9’s first stage booster, making its second launch, returned to Florida’s Space Coast for an on-target landing.

The 213-foot-tall (65-meter) rocket lifted off at 10:36:09 a.m. EST (1536:09 GMT) Friday from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad, heading on a trajectory northeast over the Atlantic Ocean powered by 1.7 million pounds of thrust from nine Merlin 1D main engines.

After shutting down and jettisoning from the Falcon 9’s second stage, the first stage booster flipped around and returned to SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for a pinpoint touchdown, using three restarts of a subset of its engines to slow its descent.

The first stage that launched Dec. 15 made its first flight June 3 on a previous space station resupply mission. Unlike the company’s previous reused rocket flights, SpaceX did not repaint the recovered booster for its second launch, leaving soot deposits and other markings from its last mission.

Read our full story for details on the mission.

Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Sandra Joseph
Credit: James Murati
Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: James Murati
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: James Murati
Credit: James Murati
Credit: James Murati
Credit: James Murati
Credit: SpaceX

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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