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Watch SpaceX nail its first on-shore rocket landing in five months

SpaceX has just performed its first on-shore rocket landing since March 2020 in a mission that successfully deployed the Saocom 1B Earth-observing satellite for Argentina’s CONAE space agency, as well as a commercial radar imaging satellite for California-based Capella Space, and a weather data satellite for Colorado-based PlanetiQ. The deployments are part of SpaceX’s recently launched Smallsat Rideshare Program.

The Falcon 9 rocket departed Cape Canaveral in Florida at 4:18 p.m. PT on Sunday, August 30, on what was the fourth outing for this particular booster.


— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 30, 2020

For the last five months, SpaceX’s first-stage Falcon 9 boosters have been returning to one of its drone ships stationed in the ocean off the Florida coast, but the flight trajectory of Sunday’s mission meant the booster would come down on land.

Sure enough, just eight minutes after launch, Falcon 9 rocket made a perfect touchdown, a feat captured on video and posted to SpaceX’s Twitter account.

“You could not ask for a better landing than that,” the SpaceX controller said as the rocket touched down just a short distance from where it launched a short while earlier.

Falcon 9’s first stage has landed at Landing Zone 1

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 30, 2020

Soon after, the commercial space company led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk posted a video showing the successful deployment of Argentina’s Saocom 1B satellite.

Deployment of SAOCOM 1B confirmed

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 30, 2020

We’re still waiting for news on whether SpaceX has managed to catch the rocket fairing parts in its net-equipped ships, and we will update this piece as soon as we find out.

SpaceX had been planning for two launches on Sunday, but poor weather conditions forced it to scrub the morning launch of another Falcon 9 rocket loaded with another batch of Starlink broadband satellites. The mission has now been rescheduled for Tuesday, September 1.

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