SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket on a resupply mission to the International Space Station and landed the first stage at Cape Canaveral.
Sonic booms were heard as the rocket re-entered the atmosphere and touched down at SpaceX’s landing pad minutes after a 12:45 a.m. blastoff.
With an engine firing brightly to slow its speed, the booster dropped through the darkness to a soft landing on four legs.
The rocket is “ready to fly again,” CEO Elon Musk said after preliminary inspections were completed overnight.
This was SpaceX’s fifth first-stage landing and its second touchdown at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The Dragon capsule contains nearly 5,000 pounds of food, equipment and science experiments. They are due to arrive at the Space Station on Wednesday morning.
Around 7 a.m. Wednesday, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams will attempt to snare the unmanned spacecraft with the station’s 58-foot robotic arm.
“It’s exciting to have a Dragon back in orbit,” said Joel Montalbano, NASA’s deputy program manager for ISS utilization. “The Dragon’s doing fine.”