THE rocket pioneers have repeatedly entered the history books with their gravity-defying fleet of boosters.
But what is SpaceX, the company behind the rocket, and what was its latest launch? Here’s what we know so far.
AFP Falcon 9’s successful landing is the latest triumph for pioneering firm SpaceX
What is SpaceX?
Billionaire Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 to build affordable rockets and enable the colonisation of Mars.
The private American aerospace manufacturer also aimed to reduce space transportation costs.
Since its creation the firm has gained fame primarily as a pioneering rocket firm.
In 2008 it launched the first privately-funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit and later became the first private company to launch an object into orbit around the sun.
The company has grown dramatically over its lifespan, from 160 employees in November 2005 to around 6,000 as of April 2017.
As of March 2018, SpaceX had over 100 launches on its manifest representing about $12 billion (£9.24million) in contract revenue.
Why did they launch a Falcon 9 rocket?
In October 2018 Space X attempted yet another world first by landing a rocket back on Californian soil.
After months of speculation, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa was revealed as Falcon 9’s passenger, making him the first private passenger on a trip around the Moon.
The rocket previously made history in 2012 when it delivered Dragon spacecraft into the correct orbit for rendezvous with the International Space Station.
It has since made numerous trips to space launching satellites and returning cargo for NASA.
And the reliable booster is set to make history again, with plans for the rocket to transport humans into space still afoot.
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Was the mission successful?
The rocket took off at about 19.21 local time (2.21am) on October 7(8).
The first stage of the rocket returned safely to the air base about eight minutes later, making it the first ground booster landing on the California coast.
It was Falcon 9’s 62nd flight and successfully launched Argentina’s satellite.
The orbit will reportedly track natural disasters, crop yields and soil-moisture levels from 385 miles above the earth.
CEO Elon Musk relayed its success on Twitter, writing: “Falcon 9 has landed – first West Coast land landing of an orbital class rocket booster.”
What’s the latest news?
SPACEX’s Crew Dragon rocketship blasted off this morning in a high stakes test flight to the International Space Station.
Elon Musk’s company is working with NASA to resume sending US astronauts into space from American soil for the first time since 2011.
The only passenger was a life-size test dummy, named Ripley after the lead character in the Alien movies.
SpaceX needs to nail the debut of its crew Dragon capsule before putting people on board later this year.
This latest, flashiest Dragon is on a fast track to reach the space station Sunday morning, just 27 hours after lift-off.
It will spend five days docked to the orbiting outpost, before making a retro-style splashdown in the Atlantic next Friday all vital training for the next space demo, possibly this summer, when two astronauts strap in.
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket makes its first West Coast landing of orbital class rocket booster
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