SpaceX, the private space travel company, have successfully launched a rocket into space on Sunday 19 February. The launch, made from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, was delayed from Saturday because of technical problems.
The Falcon 9 rocket successfully carried a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship into orbit. The vessel is expected to arrive at the International Space Station by Wednesday (22 February).
Having detached from the ship, the rocket then returned to Earth safely nine minutes after take-off. The firm are experimenting with a cost-saving initiative whereby rockets are reused.
Loud cheers could be heard from the SpaceX mission control room as the rocket touched down in one piece.
The explosion not only destroyed the vessel but also the Israeli firm Spacecom's $200m Amos 6 communications satellite. SpaceX is one of many parties racing to deploy satellite-based internet services.
The company also plans to take private customers into orbit including Nasa, the US military and numerous organisations in the commercial sector.
Following the explosion, SpaceX was grounded for four months before successfully returning to flight in January this year with the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a payload of 10 Iridium satellites from the California-based Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Earlier in the week, SpaceX founder Elon Musk expressed his delight at the historic launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center used for today's launch. He said: "This is the same launch pad used by the Saturn V rocket that first took people to the moon in 1969," the caption reads. "We are honored to be allowed to use it."