Quick look: History-making Space X rocket launch/return

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Reuters/Joe Skipper

The First

They have talked about it for years and had a couple failures but SpaceX this week did what no one has done before – they launched a multi-stage rocket into space, delivered 11 satellites into low-Earth orbit and landed the first stage of the spacecraft back on the launching pad. The Falcon rocket becomes the first of what SpaceX hopes will become a family of reusable launcher systems. Take a look.

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Reuters/ Steve Nesius

The rocket

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rests on its launch pad.

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Reuters/ Steve Nesius

Close up

Another look at the SpaceX Falcon 9.

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The general idea

This is what the reusable rocket mission looks like.

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Reuters/Joe Skipper

Blast off

A shot of the liftoff.

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Reuters/Joe Skipper

The return

The first stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket returns to land at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on the launcher's first mission since a June failure, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Dec. 21, 2015.

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Reuters/Joe Skipper

Slowly…

The first stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket settling down.

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Reuters/ Steve Nesius

Close to the zone

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket returns to a landing zone.

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Reuters/ Mike Brown

Complete view

A long exposure photograph shows the SpaceX Falcon 9 lifting off (L) from its launch pad and then returning to a landing zone (R) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.