Friday was an important day for SpaceX as the company successfully launched the Falcon 9 rocket with the BulgariaSat-1 Satellite. The notable thing about the mission was that the first stage booster that has been reused after being used in Falcon 9 mission back in January 2017. The first stage of that mission was recovered and refurbished for yesterday’s mission.
Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, had tweeted prior to the launch of the Falcon 9 that is less likely for the space company to recover the first stage of the rocket this time. The reasons given were the record levels of heat and the highest ever re-entry force that the rocket will experience. In fact, Musk mentioned there is a good chance they don’t get the rocket back.
Falcon 9 will experience its highest ever reentry force and heat in today's launch. Good chance rocket booster doesn't make it back.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 23, 2017
Falcon 9 was carrying the BulgariaSat-1, which is the first ever geostationary communications satellite by Bulgaria. When in orbit, the satellite will be used to broadcast communication networks along with HDTV signals for its clients in Europe. However, the satellite was built by SSL near Palo Alto in California.
The mission was launched at 3:10 PM ET on Friday from the Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The first stage separated from the rocket and landed on a SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The landing was also very challenging for the company because of the high reentry loads that we mentioned earlier.
Falcon 9 deployed the BulgariaSat-1 into the orbit at 3:45 PM ET, 35 minutes after the lift-off.
That’s not it from SpaceX, the space company is planning to launch another Falcon 9 this Sunday, June 25. With this launch, SpaceX is aiming to become the first to both launch and land two different rockets within 48 hours.
Falcon 9 will be carrying the second payload of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites and will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 4:25 PM ET. The first stage of the rocket will land on a drone ship stationed in the Pacific Ocean.