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Photos: SpaceX's Return-to-Flight Rocket Launch and Landing Success

Falcon 9 Rises into California Sky

SpaceX

Another look at SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Jan. 14, 2017.

Falcon 9 Rocket Stages: Up and Down

SpaceX

The first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket heads down to Earth for a landing on a ship at sea (left) while the second stage powers 10 Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit (right) on Jan. 14, 2017.

Almost There

SpaceX

The landing deck of SpaceX's Just Read the Instructions is visible from a camera of the Falcon 9 rocket first stage during a landing just after the successful launch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on Jan. 14, 2016.

Falcon 9 on Drone Ship ‘Just Read the Instructions’

SpaceX

The first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket sits on the drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” just after landing on Jan. 14, 2017.

Falcon 9 Liftoff: Long View

Calla Cofield/Space.com

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Jan. 14, 2017, carrying 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites to orbit.

Falcon 9 Rocket’s Trail

Calla Cofield/Space.com

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket leaves a trail in the skies above Vandenberg Air Force Base in California after lifting off on Jan. 14, 2017.

Falcon 9 Poised to Launch

SpaceX

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket stands poised to launch 10 Iridium NEXT satellites on Jan. 14, 2017.

SpaceX Falcon 9 with Iridium-NEXT Satellites

SpaceX

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with 10 Iridium-NEXT communications satellites at Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The rocket is scheduled to launch on Jan. 14, 2017.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket on the Pad

SpaceX

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with 10 Iridium-NEXT communications satellites on the pad ahead of a planned Jan. 14, 2017 liftoff.

Working on Iridium NEXT

Thales Group

An engineer works on one of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites prior to its launch into orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.