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The company hopes it will be able to recover both the first and second stage of its rocket launches in the future

SpaceX plans ocean rocket landing on barge

SpaceX said on Friday that it will reattempt to land a rocket on a barge in the middle of the ocean.

The company has already tried to achieve such a feat in the past on two separate occasions but failed both times.

Earlier in 2015, a defective brace inside the upper stage of its Falcon 9 rocket resulted in a post lift-off explosion which destroyed a Dragon capsule that was intended to carry supplies to the International Space Station.

However, officials are more confident that a third attempt will be successful after the company managed to both launch a rocket into space and successfully land it back on earth in December for the first time.

A Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a NASA ocean-monitoring satellite, is currently planned to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on 17 January.

About two minutes after lift-off, the first stage of the rocket will separate, flip around, fire engines to slow its fall, deploy landing legs and attempt to touch down on a floating landing pad in the Pacific Ocean.

If the ocean landing is proved to be a success, it should allow the California-based company to recover its boosters from a wider variety of space missions. SpaceX wants to refurbish and re-fly its rockets in order to reduce the financial burden of space flight.

Last year, the company’s founder and the CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk said: "If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred.”

SpaceX is currently concentrating on reusing the first stage of its Falcon rockets, which sell for about $61m (£42m) according to the company's website. The fuel cost of launching the rocket only amounts to $200,000, Musk recently said.

The company hopes to be able to return the rocket's second-stage for reuse as well in the future.

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