SpaceX has made what can only be described as a triumphant return after its Falcon 9 rocket made a flawless touchdown at NASA’s historic Kennedy Space Center.
Elon Musk was on hand to oversee the second launch of 2017 for SpaceX and what will now be the eighth time that the company has launched a rocket and then successfully landed it.
The Falcon 9 rocket launched on 19 February delivering a Dragon cargo spacecraft which will send supplies and new scientific equipment to the International Space Station.
NASA confirmed that Dragon’s solar panels have deployed and the spacecraft will now begin the two-day journey with it expected to arrive at the ISS on Tuesday morning.
The mission will have been a huge sigh of relief for SpaceX after the company suffered a setback in September 2016 when one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded on the launchpad along with a $200m satellite belonging to Facebook.
This was also the first time that a private spacecraft was launched from NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
The launchpad has played host to some of NASA’s most iconic missions including the Apollo programme and NASA’s space shuttle launches.
This is the eighth successful landing for SpaceX with five taking place on fixed launchpads and three on SpaceX’s own floating autonomous drone pad.
The hope is to create a rocket that can consistently be launched, landed and then reused with high-success rates and low launch costs.