SpaceX has for the second time successfully landed a Falcon 9 rocket at sea on the autonomous robot droneship, the Of Course I Still Love You.
The landing follows the rocket's successful launch of JCSAT-14, a commercial telecommunications satellite for Japan's SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, to a geostationary transfer orbit.
The launch was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was delayed due to weather conditions until Friday at 01:21 local time at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
As well as having to land in the dark, the Falcon 9 had to contend with extra challenges resulting from the high orbit that its satellite payload had to be sent into. Before the landing, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted: "Rocket reentry is a lot faster and hotter than last time, so odds of making it are maybe even, but we should learn a lot either way"
This marks the third successful landing made by a Falcon 9, all made with the latest version of the rocket, upgraded to improve stability and provide more thrust. The first took place on solid ground last December and the second – the first barge landing – was less than a month ago, on April 11.
SpaceX's plans don't end with satellite launches and supply runs to the International Space Station. Last week, the company announced plans to send its first spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018.