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Image credit: SpaceX

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket returns to the skies this month

This marks the first launch since the disastrous Falcon 9 explosion in June.

SpaceX is tentatively planning its next Falcon 9 rocket launch for December 19th at Cape Canaveral, Florida, following a static fire on December 16th. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted the news today, writing, "Aiming for Falcon rocket static fire at Cape Canaveral on the 16th and launch about three days later." This should be a ground landing, following the company's previous attempts to land its rockets on an ocean platform, which is a truly difficult feat.

The previous Falcon 9 launch ended in disaster -- the rocket broke up shortly after taking off on a resupply mission for the International Space Station. At the time, Musk noted that the explosion may have been caused by an "overpressure event" in the rocket's upper-stage liquid oxygen tank. The misfire set back SpaceX's launch schedule by a few months.

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