Yeah, it's mainly for statistical purposes that it's only counted as the second launch. They basically "reset the clock" with such a major redesign. Definitely worth it in my opinion. Can't wait for the next CRS mission when they try to return the first stage to the launch site (pending NASA and FAA approval)
They are actually going to try to get approved to land in Cape Canaveral? Sounds like a very dangerous idea. It can cause a lot of damage if they hit the complex, but not the landing site, and who knows what damage if they miss the complex altogether.
That gets me quite excited - it means they have everything except for the landing gear figured out, and the landing gear should not be that big of a deal. Even with the Grasshopper demonstrations I wasn't as optimistic to suspect that they are this close enough to pulling it off (close enough to risk landing in Florida). So we are NASA/FAA approval short of seeing history being made?
Well, I guess the hovering over water was enough of a demonstration to make me figure that out. They can't try this again for their GTO missions, can they?
As first stage controlled re-entry and landing starts to work, I think the FAA will realize that having a stage come down following a controlled path is a whole lot safer than uncontrolled re-entry, which by any other standards would be called a crash.
But it is over water, hence the crash can kill less people. Plus, they don't need to crash it controllably over water (which SpaceX have done), it's going close to land that needs an approval, if I understand correctly.