In first, SpaceX launches recycled rocket and spaceship

Adelaide Australia. Musk detailed the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved in order to support the creation of a permanent self-sustaining

The first-stage Falcon 9 booster used in Friday's launch was safely recovered once again, so it could potentially be used in a third mission.

Eventually, SpaceX hopes to be able to land and turn around rockets for reuse in under 24 hours, to help it service commercial clients quickly and effectively. SpaceX spent $50 million rebuilding the pad.

The location of the launch is significant too.

This will be the first launch in more than a year from this Florida pad, the scene of a rocket explosion in 2016. SpaceX couldn't fully focus on the upgrades to 39A while repairs were still being done at SLC-40.

In pic: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from newly refurbished Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

NASA is SpaceX's most important customer, and this mission is SpaceX's 13th of 20 under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

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"Capture confirmed", a NASA commentator said at 5:57 am (10:57 GMT), when the space station's robotic arm, operated by one of its astronauts, attached itself to the cargo ship as it floated over Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The cargo load includes two NASA-sponsored experiments to monitor the sun's energy output, a key driver of Earth's climate, and measure the density and distribution of space junk in the space station's orbit.

Update, 10:51 a.m.: The Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed, for the second time, and the Dragon capsule, following a successful separation from the second stage, is on its way to the ISS.

Today's mission has suffered from a few delays, though.

Interestingly, SpaceX hasn't repainted or resurfaced the first stage, meaning that the soot resulting from its previously launch was still visible on its external surface prior to launch.

SpaceX pushed back the launch from Wednesday to flush out contaminants found in the Falcon 9's second stage fuel tank. He added that when the public response is, "Oh yeah, another landing, no news there", then SpaceX will have achieved its goals. There are some clouds at the launch site, but overall weather conditions appear favorable for a liftoff today. SpaceX tweeted the webcast Friday morning. Check back later to watch the mission live.

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