Published: Sat, June 24, 2017
Tech | By Constance Martin

SpaceX Makes History Again with Hot, High-Force Rocket Landing

SpaceX Makes History Again with Hot, High-Force Rocket Landing

Falcon 9 rocket delivered BulgariaSat-1, a commercial communications satellite, to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) making it the first geostationary communications satellite in Bulgaria's history.

Once the first stage of Falcon 9 detaches, it will make an attempted landing on a droneship called, "Of Course I Still Love You", that is now stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Falcon 9 is SpaceX's two-stage rocket manufactured to successfully transport satellites and their Dragon spacecraft into orbit. You can stay tuned with that launch at 1:25 PM PST.

BulgariaSat-1, which was built for the eastern European country by California-based SSL, is created to provide direct-to-home television and data communications services over an area centered in the Balkans and stretching from western Europe to the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus. "It's been 15 years to get to this point". Earlier this week, SpaceX delayed launching its first Bulgarian payload, BulgariaSat-1.

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This Falcon 9 rocket was previously launched with an Iridium NEXT Constellation satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in January 2017. That mission will be conducted with a previously un-used Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX will once again be teaming up with Iridium-this time, to ferry up 10 satellites for the company's NEXT network.

SpaceX makes landings back on solid ground as well, but sometimes the mission profile requires a landing at sea. Regardless, it would appear that the test was quite successful and the data gathered will likely assist SpaceX in the future.

Eight SpaceX launches in all are due to fill out the 70-satellite configuration in low Earth orbit, plus on-orbit spares. It's unclear if SpaceX plans to fly that booster for a third time.

It took about 11 months from landing to relaunch of that booster, but the turnaround was much faster on the most recent launch, with only about six months in between launches. The recoveries are seen as a major cost-cutting evolution in space flight, allowing the re-use of the multimillion-dollar rockets instead of allowing them to burn up on reentry and fall into the ocean.

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