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The two photos that define yesterday's SpaceX launch

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SpaceX finally launched the DSCOVR satellite aboard a reusable Falcon 9 last night, completing a mission that has been delayed since Al Gore was our vice president. So you could say it was a relief when a camera on the rocket's second stage took this astonishing image of the Earth as it carried DSCOVR to deep space:

But back on Earth, hostile conditions in the Atlantic Ocean mucked up SpaceX's plans. Instead of attempting a landing on an autonomous drone ship, the company had to settle for remotely collecting data as the Falcon 9 eased itself into the water.

The photo shows that the massive rocket briefly roared above the surface of the ocean last night before it sank into the sea. Hopefully next time it will land.