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SpaceX, Air Force sign deal for landing pad at Cape

Falcon rocket booster to land at site

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(NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX and the Air Force have reached an agreement to use a former Atlas launch pad on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as a landing site for returning Falcon rocket boosters, the 45th Space Wing has confirmed.

Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported last month that a five-year lease of Launch Complex 13 was expected by the end of January.

"The way we see it, this is a classic combination of a highly successful launch past morphing into an equally promising future," Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, commander of the 45th Space Wing, said in a statement.

"For decades, we have been refining our procedures for getting successful launches skyward here on the Eastern Range," Armagno said. "Now we're looking at processes on how to bring first-stage rockets back to earth at the first landing pad at the Cape. We live in exciting times here on the Space Coast."

Before flying boosters back to shore, SpaceX must first show it can land them safely on an ocean platform. The company will make a second attempt to do that Tuesday after a planned 6:05 p.m. launch of a Falcon 9 with the Deep Space Climate Observatory.