Hey there, SpaceX: We get it. You’re good at this.
The Elon Musk-founded spaceflight company launched 10 Iridium communications satellites into space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket in the predawn darkness from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Monday. The successful deployment of each satellite has not yet occurred, however.
Following the launch, SpaceX successfully landed a Falcon 9 rocket booster onto a drone ship, named “Just Read the Instructions,” in the Pacific Ocean. Monday marked SpaceX’s 17th landing of a Falcon 9 rocket booster, which have taken place on both coasts and at sea and on land.
SpaceX first began attempting to recover its rocket boosters back on Earth in 2015 in a bid to drastically lower the costs of spaceflight. Early attempts met a fiery end, but gradually, SpaceX has learned its engineering lessons and gone on a streak of seemingly effortless landings.
This mission marks the 14th successful launch for SpaceX this year. This comes after a rocky 2016, during which one of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets blew up on a launch pad in Cape Canaveral during a routine test.
SpaceX has long been obsessed with reducing the cost of spaceflight by employing reusable rockets that can launch multiple missions.
The company is drawing ever-closer to this goal through these rocket landings. SpaceX has already launched rockets that have returned to Earth multiple times, thereby demonstrating their reusability.
In fact, another such reused rocket launch is planned for Wednesday from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The landed booster from Monday’s launch will now return to shore and may be refurbished for another flight at some point in the future.
Miriam Kramer contributed to this report.