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SpaceX launches supplies to ISS, lands rocket booster

Tribune News Service • Jul 18, 2016 at 3:29 AM

SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket laden with supplies for the International Space Station early Monday and successfully landed its first-stage rocket booster back on land.

The launch occurred at 12:45 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

About eight minutes after liftoff, the first-stage rocket booster returned to land at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral. That marked the Hawthorne, Calif., space company’s second rocket booster landing on land since December.

SpaceX also has had three successful landings on a floating drone ship at sea.

The rocket was carrying almost 5,000 pounds of cargo, including a docking adapter — a large metallic ring that will enable commercial crew spacecraft under development by Boeing Co. and SpaceX to dock at the space station.

The adapter will be one of two eventually located on the space station. A second one is being assembled at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will be launched on a future SpaceX mission, NASA said.

Last year, a SpaceX rocket carrying one of these adapters broke apart shortly after liftoff. The docking adapter had cost $32.4 million to develop, according to a recent report by NASA’s office of inspector general.

The Dragon spacecraft with the supplies deployed about 10 minutes after liftoff and will arrive at the space station Tuesday.

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