SpaceX completes two rocket missions in 48 hours

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A Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday afternoon, carrying 10 communications satellites into orbit for Iridium Communications.

About seven minutes later the rocket’s first-stage booster made its way back to Earth, successfully landing on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had warned the floating platform had to be moved due to “extreme weather”.

Closeup of the titanium grid fins. Not painted, as they glow red hot during a fast reentry. pic.twitter.com/Ltrq1Prg2m

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 25, 2017

New titanium grid fins worked even better than expected. Should be capable of an indefinite number of flights with no service.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 25, 2017

He tweeted afterwards: “New titanium grid fins worked even better than expected. Should be capable of an indefinite number of flights with no service.”

Mr Musk also posted a sped up video of the rocket landing on Instagram.

Sped up version of today’s rocket landing on the Droneship Just Read the Instructions (guess it did)

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Jun 25, 2017 at 2:41pm PDT

The mission followed a successful Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Friday, boosting a communications satellite for Bulgaria into orbit.

Its first stage was recovered after landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic.

SpaceX rocket launch
Image:Friday’s mission boosted a communications satellite for Bulgaria into orbit

Sunday’s rocket was a brand new one, while on Friday a refurbished booster was used.

Mr Musk has said he wants to reuse multimillion dollar components instead of jettisoning them in the ocean after launch to reduce his company’s costs eventually by up to a third.

The company, which was founded by the billionaire, made history in March when it launched and retrieved a rocket which had successfully returned after a previous launch.

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