'A SpaceX rocket flew up, placed a set of satellites in orbit, and dropped back down onto a landing pad in a huge success for the company.
'The successful launch was extra-important because it came four months after a similar rocket went up in a huge fireball, sparking an investigation and potentially derailing Elon Musk's private space company's plans.
'The two-stage rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 9:54 a.m. carrying a payload for Iridium Communications Inc., which is replacing its entire global network with 70 next-generation satellites.
'The satellites were deployed about an hour after launch.
'About nine minutes after the rocket blasted off, to cheers from the control room, its jettisoned first stage landed upright on a so-called droneship in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg - part of SpaceX's effort to make boosters reusable.
'SpaceX has succeeded six times previously with landings on a barge or ashore.
'A camera aboard the first stage gave viewers a you-are-there experience as it returned to Earth, flared landing rockets and made a perfect upright touchdown on the floating pad.' (Independent article).