SpaceX successfully launches rocket after Saturday setback

Media captionThe SpaceX rocket was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida

Private rocket firm SpaceX has successfully launched a rocket carrying a cargo ship for the International Space Station following the postponement of take-off on Saturday because of technical problems.

Witnesses said the rocket was only briefly visible before making its way into the clouds.

The launch was made from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The rocket successfully landed on the ground nine minutes after taking off.

The touchdown is part of the company’s strategy of returning rockets to earth so they can reused rather than jettisoning them in the ocean after a single launch.

Moments after the rocket landed, the SpaceX Dragon supply ship successfully reached orbit, prompting cheers inside the SpaceX Mission Control room.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Witnesses said the rocket was only briefly visible before making its way into the clouds

The Dragon is now making its way to the International Space Station, and is expected to arrive on Wednesday.

Last month SpaceX resumed flights by launching a Falcon 9 vehicle from the Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast.

It was the first mission by the company since one of its vehicles exploded on the launch pad in September.

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, wants his company to be at the forefront of the race involving several companies to deploy satellite-based internet services over the next few years.

The company also has a long queue of customers all waiting for a ride to orbit – including America’s civil space agency (Nasa), the US military and multiple outfits in the commercial sector.

But September’s launch pad mishap was a spectacular reminder of just how unpredictable rockets can be sometimes.

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