LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — A 160-foot-tall SpaceX rocket booster arrived at the Port of Los Angeles early Tuesday morning, three days after it was launched into space from Vandenberg Air Force Base and successfully steered onto a barge in the Pacific.
The successful mission sent 10 telecommunications satellites into space and marked SpaceX's first mission since a fireball engulfed a similar rocket on a Florida launch pad last year.
About nine minutes after liftoff on Saturday, the Falcon9 rocket's first stage landed on the barge, eliciting cheers from the SpaceX control room.
SpaceX's effort to recover Falcon first stages is intended to reduce costs by recycling a major piece of the launch system.
The first stage contains tanks for liquid oxygen and kerosene as well as nine engines that power the rocket and payload into space. The booster separates two and a half minutes into flight as the single-engine second stage ignites and continues on to place payloads in the proper orbit.
The first Falcon booster to safely land back on Earth now stands outside the company's Hawthorne headquarters.
The rocket from this week's mission will be parked at the AltaSea marine research center until it is taken in to SpaceX headquarters to be retooled for another flight, the Orange County Register reported.
This was the seventh time SpaceX has been successful landing a rocket booster on a barge or on land.
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