SpaceX’s eighth launch this year proved successful Sunday morning, when a Falcon 9 rocket landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship after launching a Japanese communications satellite into orbit.
The whole launch went relatively quickly and seemingly without any issues. The white rocket launched from Cape Canaveral on time at 1:26 am EDT, with the main stage separating as planned less than three minutes into the flight.
The first stage re-entered the atmosphere and landed on the droneship about six minutes later.
JCSAT-16 was a satellite that was set as a backup for other JSAT satellites currently in orbit. According to SpaceX, the satellite made it into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) with 36,000 kilometer (or around 22,300 miles) apogee (or at its highest point in orbit).
While this is the second time SpaceX has launched a JSAT satellite, it was challenging due to the apogee, which was higher than officials had attempted before.
“Given this mission’s GTO destination, the first-stage will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating, making a successful landing challenging” SpaceX said prior to the mission in a statement.
As always, the rocket proved to be a great subject for photographs. Check out some of the ones taken by SpaceX below.
If you missed any of it—valid considering what time the launch took place—SpaceX has the entire webcast archived on YouTube. You can watch it here.