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SpaceX recovers launch booster for recycled supply ship

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft onboard, launched Saturday at Kennedy Space Center.

Bill Ingalls/NASA

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft onboard, launched Saturday at Kennedy Space Center.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX has successfully recovered the first-stage booster that it used Saturday to launch its first recycled cargo ship to the International Space Station.

The launch of the recycled ship was another milestone in the company’s bid to drive down flight costs.

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After a two-day delay caused by thunderstorms, the unmanned Falcon rocket blasted off carrying a Dragon capsule that made a station delivery nearly three years ago.

When this refurbished Dragon reaches the orbiting lab on Monday, it will be the first returning craft since NASA’s now-retired shuttles.

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The first-stage booster was brand new, but as is now the custom, it returned to Cape Canaveral after liftoff for a vertical touchdown. ‘‘The Falcon has landed,’’ SpaceX Mission Control declared from company headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., and a cheer went up.

The plan is to launch the booster again, instead of junking it in the ocean as many other rocket makers do.

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