CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Following in trails blazed by Saturn V moon rockets and space shuttles, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off Sunday morning from a storied Kennedy Space Center launch site on a mission to resupply the International Space Station.
The 210-foot rocket carrying a Dragon cargo craft quickly disappeared into clouds after the 9:39 a.m. liftoff from KSC’s pad 39A, where Apollo astronauts launched to the moon and shuttle astronauts last set sail nearly six years ago.
Minutes later, the rocket’s first stage did something the historic missions never contemplated, flipping around above the atmosphere and flying back to Cape Canaveral for a soft landing that unleashed powerful sonic booms across the area.
“Baby came back,” CEO Elon Musk posted on Instagram.
The landing eight minutes after liftoff was SpaceX’s third of a booster at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, miles down the coast from the launch site. It was the first attempt in daylight, but clouds obscured the views for many spectators.
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