SpaceX just successfully launched its fifth rocket of the year on Friday at 5:40 p.m. EST.

The Falcon 9 rocket launched out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, at twice the speed of a speeding bullet. It was carrying a rhinoceros-size communications satellite called Thaicom 8 that weighs nearly 7,000 pounds.

Once up, the satellite, built by aerospace manufacturer Orbital ATK for Thailand's first satellite operator, Thaicom, will provide TV and internet services to Southeast Asia.

The satellite will run for 15 years, a long lifetime for a satellite. It'll stay powered using solar wings that extend out, each of which holds four panels.

As for the rocket that launched it? It'll fly again, said SpaceX staff during the launch.

Here's the Falcon 9 rocket blasting off:


Then the first stage of the rocket separates and returns home, sticking the landing:


Talk about hitting the target:


After the first stage separates, the second stage of the rocket keeps going until it successfully drops off of the satellite:


SpaceX's track record for launches has been nearly flawless this year, with five successful launches and four successful landings — and retrievals! — of the first stage of the rockets. One of those successes took place on land in December, and two more happened in April and May at sea.

SpaceX once again managed to nail an extremely difficult landing with this rocket, making it:

  • The fourth successful retrieval of the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket
  • The third successful at-sea landing
  • The second successful landing after launching to the extremely high geostationary orbit, more than 22,000 miles above Earth's equator

During SpaceX's last launch, CEO Elon Musk admitted that he wasn't sure if they'd stick the landing, citing the extreme heat and velocity that the rocket faced upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere.

But it did. And although it was a hugely surprising success, the re-landed first stage suffered "maximum damage," meaning that it's not going back to space again anytime soon. Instead, SpaceX plans to use that rocket for ground tests.

Perfecting the landing of the first stage of its Falcon 9 rockets brings SpaceX closer to its ultimate goal: Making these rockets reusable, and thereby dramatically cutting the cost of spaceflight by 30%. This launch gave it yet another opportunity to prove that it can achieve this.

SEE ALSO: Here's what Elon Musk plans to do with the 3rd SpaceX rocket he managed to land

DON'T MISS: Even Elon Musk wasn't sure if SpaceX could nail this incredibly difficult landing

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