SpaceX Launches Communications Satellite, Lands Boosters

Falcon 9 first stage landed nearly dead center. (Credit: SpaceX)
Falcon 9 first stage landed nearly dead center. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 placed the Japanese JCSAT-16 communications satellite into orbit in a spectacular early-morning launch on Sunday. The first stage of the booster also landed also successfully landed on an off-shore drone ship.

The flight was the eighth successful launch of a Falcon 9 this year. It also was the sixth time the company has landed a first stage booster for later use.

During the Small Satellite Conference in Utah last week, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said the company could reuse two of recovered boosters for satellite launches by the end of the year.

SpaceX has a crowded manifest for the rest of 2016, with at least eight more flights planned. The launch is scheduled for late this month from Cape Canaveral, with the Amos 6 satellite as the payload.

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