SpaceX successfully launches, lands Falcon 9 rocket



SpaceX successfully launched and landed a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station late Friday afternoon after scrubbing the launch a day earlier.

The weather was 60 percent favorable for the launch, which opened a two-hour window at 5:39 p.m. at Launch Complex 40. SpaceX successfully landed the Falcon 9’s first stage again bound for a touchdown on its “Of Course I Still Love You” ship, about 10 minutes after liftoff.

SpaceX on Thursday scrubbed its first attempt to launch the Thaicom 8 communications satellite, citing concern about an actuator on the 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket's upper stage Merlin engine.

The reusable rocket’s payload is the 7,000-pound communications satellite Thiacom 8. This will mark Thiacom’s fifth satellite in orbit.

Built by Orbital ATK, Thaicom 8 will deliver high-definition TV and data services to Thailand, India and parts of Africa, beaming signals near two other Thaicom satellites.

If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9 rocket’s upper stage will deploy the satellite 32 minutes after liftoff. The rocket’s first stage will land on SpaceX’s “Of Course I Still Love You” ship, about 10 minutes after liftoff.

The launch is SpaceX’s fifth this year. It’s the fourth done by an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 introduced last year after a failure last summer.