SpaceX successfully launches satellite from Kennedy Space Center

Geronimo Vena
Giugno 25, 2017

The mission went off without a hitch, and SpaceX even recaptured the used first-stage booster.

SpaceX on Friday kicked off the first of two rocket launches this weekend with a smashing success.

SpaceX is set to launch a "previously flown" Falcon 9 rocket Friday from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A, with the launch window opening at 2:10 p.m. But the booster landed on a floating drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean about nine minutes after liftoff.

The first stage of that Falcon 9 rocket is also expected to come in for a landing on a different drone ship in the Pacific Ocean after launch.

Four landing legs extended from the base of the booster just before touchdown. So each time it can land and refurbish the booster, it can save millions on the cost required to build a whole rocket. Six more missions over the next year will get the full satellite constellation into orbit.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shared that there was a good chance this rocket wouldn't survive its return because of the need to send BulgariaSat-1 to such a high orbit.

The rocket's two stages separated almost three minutes into the flight with the first stage making its way back to Earth. The last eight booster landing attempts have been successful over the previous year, including recoveries at sea and on land.

"It means you can fly and re-fly an orbital-class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket", Musk said. This will mark the second time ever that a used booster is reused to launch a payload.

This launch marked the second time that SpaceX has reflown a Falcon 9 first stage, after the March launch of the SES-10 satellite. SpaceX regularly lands and recovers the first stage of the rockets.

SpaceX wants to reuse its rockets in order to drastically reduce the cost of a single launch. But the double header, if successful, is a significant step toward the company's goal of shooting rockets every two to three weeks.

Zayakov said that after power-generating solar arrays unfurl on the satellite, a series of on-board engine burns will reshape the satellite's orbit at about 22,300 miles above Earth over the next few days.

"SSL has a history of working closely with new satellite operators to help them move their businesses forward", said the president of SSL, John Celli.

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