(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — The stage is set for SpaceX’s comeback Monday night as Elon Musk and his team are scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket, marking the first time since an explosion destroyed its Dragon cargo capsule six months ago.
Liftoff of the rocket, which will be carrying 11 satellites for communications company Orbcomm, is set for around 8:30 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The upgraded Falcon 9 stands slightly taller than predecessors at 229.6 feet and has more thrust. While the launch is noteworthy, all eyes will be on what happens minutes later as SpaceX attempts to land the rocket vertically on land, proving it can be reused.
The company has made three previous attempts that have come close to landing on a floating barge, but have crash-landed or just barely missed the mark.
The ability to reuse rockets is something Musk said would lower costs and help revolutionize space travel. If successful, it “would mark the first time in history an orbital rocket has successfully achieved a land landing,” SpaceX said in a statement.
Last month, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and his company Blue Origin successfully launched a rocket to a test altitude of 329,839 feet and then landed it near the launch pad in Texas.
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