SpaceX has successfully launched a capsule into orbit carrying critical cargo destined for the International Space Station (ISS).
On board the unpiloted spacecraft are almost 5,000 pounds of new equipment and materials that will help facilitate several scientific experiments, along with an worldwide docking adapter, which NASA says will set up the global Space Station "for a new era of human spaceflight".
NASA needs this new docking setup at the space station before Americans can fly there in crew capsules set to debut next year.
SpaceX is building astronaut-worthy versions of its Dragon cargo ships, while Boeing - which makes the docking ports - is working on a crew capsule called Starliner.
As well as the successful take-off, SpaceX was also celebrating after bringing its leftover first-stage booster back to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for a vertical touchdown - only the second such land landing for an orbital mission and the ultimate in recycling.
Elon Musk's SpaceX will make a second attempt to deliver one of two docking rings to the International Space Station, a crucial step in enabling USA commercial space taxis to ferry astronauts to the orbiting lab, NASA says.
Elon Musk's California-based company has managed to successfully return five boosters, two to the ground and three to a sea-based platform in the Atlantic.
Koenigsmann said the booster looked to be in "excellent shape and probably pretty soon ready to fly again". Boosters are normally ditched at sea.
The feat comes as Musk prepares the company for its first lauch of a recycled rocket, expected to come this summer or early fall.
The mission, which is SpaceX's ninth cargo flight to the space station under NASA's commercial resupply services (CRS) contract, will be executed by NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and supported by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins.
Meanwhile, the Dragon-packed with supplies and materials for the crew and their investigations-continues on a course toward the ISS.
The Falcon 9 first stage that just landed should not have to take up valuable hangar space for too long, Koenigsmann said in Monday's post-launch briefing.