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SpaceX just successfully launched and landed its fifth rocket this year

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John Feeney
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SpaceX just successfully launched its fifth rocket of the year today at 5:40 p.m.

The Falcon 9 rocket launched out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, at twice the speed of a speeding bullet, carrying a communications satellite called Thaicom 8 that weighs nearly 7,000 lbs and is the size of a rhinoceros.

Once up, the satellite, which was built by aerospace manufacturer Orbital ATK for Thailand s first satellite operator Thaicom PLC, will provide TV and internet services to Southeast Asia.The satellite will be running for 15 years, which is a long lifetime for a satellite.

It will stay powered using solar wings that extend out, each holding four panels.Take a look at that beautiful launch: via GIPHYAnd the landing:SpaceX's track record for launches has been nearly flawless this year, with four successful launches and three successful landings and retrievals!

If it succeeds, it'll be:The fourth successful retrieval of the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket The third successful at-sea landing The second successful landing after launching to the extremely high geostationary orbit, more than 22,000 miles above Earth s equatorDuring SpaceX s last launch, Elon Musk admitted he wasn't sure if they'd stick the landing, citing the extreme heat and velocity the rocket faced upon reentry into Earth s atmosphere.

And although it was a hugely surprising success, the re-landed first stage suffered "maximum damage," meaning it's not going back to space again anytime soon.

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John Feeney
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