85ºF

SpaceX historic flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket returns to Port Canaveral

CEO Elon Musk plans to gift booster to Cape

The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is towed into Port Canaveral aboard the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You," before dawn Tuesday, April 4, 2017 in Port Canaveral, Fla.
The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is towed into Port Canaveral aboard the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You," before dawn Tuesday, April 4, 2017 in Port Canaveral, Fla. (Malcolm Denemark/Florida Today)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX's historic Falcon 9 booster sailed back into the Space Coast Tuesday, not far from where it launched from last week.

The first-stage of the now twice launched and landed Falcon 9 floated into Port Canaveral around 7 a.m. to onlookers and people fishing at Jetty Park.

Falcon 9 lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at the start of the launch window Thursday evening to a clear sky. The pre-flown first-stage returned to land on the ocean barge called "Of Course I Still Love You," in the Atlantic Ocean, the place where it first landed in April.

The launch successfully placed communication satellite SES-10 into Earth's orbit where it will expand communication coverage primarily for HD video in Latin America for SES.

Since relaunch and relanding, the singed 15-story booster has been making it's way back to the Space Coast towed by a tug boat.

The drone ship docked near The Cove at Port Canaveral where SpaceX is leasing space to store its used rocket boosters.

The historic "flight-proven" SpaceX Falcon 9 booster on "Of Course I Still Love You" at Port Canaveral Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
The historic "flight-proven" SpaceX Falcon 9 booster on "Of Course I Still Love You" at Port Canaveral Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has championed recycling rockets since his company's founding 15 years ago, to save time and money. Usually, they're discarded into the ocean after launch.

Musk said he plans to donate the first-stage as a “gift” to Cape Canaveral.

The company's next launch is scheduled for April 16. A Falcon 9 will deliver a National Reconnaissance Office satellite into Earth orbit. The company plans to land the first-stage back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Landing Zone 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


About the Author: