SpaceX rocket makes picture-perfect landing in Pacific Ocean

January 20, 2017, 11:46 a.m.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket prepares to land on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean after launching 10 satellites into orbit.
Photo: SpaceX/flickr

Private spaceflight company SpaceX was grounded from flight in September 2016 after one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded on a launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida, while it was being refueled. So it comes as good news that the company's next Falcon 9 launch attempt on Jan. 14 went off without a hitch, making it the group's seventh successful Falcon 9 rocket landing.

The Falcon 9 deployed 10 communications satellites into orbit before making a perfect dismount back to Earth and onto a drone ship (called "Just Read the Instructions") in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.

SpaceX released photos of the rocket landing (above); Space.com explains what we're seeing: "The rocket's landing legs are seen deployed here as one of its nine Merlin rocket engines fires to make the controlled landing. Two of its four grid stabilizers, used to control the rocket's descent, can be seen extending from the top of the booster."

This video takes us inside the company's reaction to the successful landing:


It looks like we'll see the pace of these launches pick up, as SpaceX tries to make up for lost time. The International Business Times reports the company has an estimated $10 billion worth of launch orders for the Falcon 9.