A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Florida on Friday to send a hefty communications satellite on its way to a high-altitude orbit, then turned around and gently settled itself on a platform in the ocean.
SpaceX had downplayed chances the returning first-stage would nail the landing, despite a successful touchdown on May 6 by another rocket on a similarly challenging satellite-delivery mission.
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That booster landed itself, but sustained what SpaceX chief Elon Musk called "max" damage, due to the high heating it encountered during atmospheric re-entry.
There was no immediate word on the condition of the rocket that landed Friday.
Another booster that landed on an ocean platform in April is expected to be refurbished and reflown later this year.
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SpaceX's first successful landing was on the ground at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in December. That rocket is expected to become a showpiece at SpaceX's Hawthorne, California, headquarters.
The rocket flying on Friday carried a 6,600-pound commercial communications satellite for Thaicom.
The launch was the fifth of more than a dozen SpaceX plans to fly this year.
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