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Musk: Latest Recovered SpaceX Booster To Lead Ground Testing

Three recovered SpaceX boosters in hanger at Cape Canaveral. Photo: SpaceX Instagram

Expectations for a successful landing at sea were low before the launch of a Japanese communication satellite earlier this month.

The satellite was heading to a geostationary transfer orbit, or GTO, a high altitude of about 26,000 miles above sea level.

That means the first stage booster was heading back to the unmanned drone ship much faster than previous successful landings.

But the landing was successful. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the booster used three engines to slow down and land – two more than previous attempts.

And since the rocket experienced more forces than previous attempts, SpaceX plans to use the booster for ground tests to see just how much force they can withstand.

The next SpaceX launch is later this month. The private space company will attempt another booster landing.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »