Sunday, August 14, 2016

X Marks the Spot

JCSAT-16 first stage landing
Click to view at a higher resolution. Image source: SpaceX Flickr.

Launching rockets is never routine, but SpaceX launched the Japanese communications satellite JCSAT-16 early this morning without incident on time at 1:26 AM EDT. Minutes later, the Falcon 9 first stage landed on the SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, pretty much smack-dab on the "X" in the middle of the deck.

As Peter B. de Selding of Space News reports, it's the eighth launch of 2016 for SpaceX, but nine more remain on the company's crowded manifest for the year.

The article also cites quotes from SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell suggesting the company faces engineering challenges with the planned heavy-lift Falcon Heavy.

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