WASHINGTON — SpaceX successfully landed a first-stage Falcon 9 rocket on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, a historic achievement for the space launch industry.

This is the second time SpaceX has successfully landed a rocket back on earth after putting a payload in space, but the first such landing on an ocean-going barge. The company attempted a similar landing in December in the Pacific Ocean, but the first-stage rocket keeled over and exploded after a failed landing.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on Friday afternoon launched its Dragon spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, FLA, to low Earth orbit on a NASA mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station, according to the company. The Falcon 9 released the Dragon into orbit, and the first-stage rocket fell back to Earth, landing smoothly on the barge. 

Friday's flight was SpaceX's eighth robotic resupply flight to the ISS, but its first in nearly a year. During the last resupply mission in June 2015, the Falcon 9 exploded in flight.

Email: lseligman@defensenews.com

Twitter: @laraseligman

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