SpaceX successfully launches, lands used rocket

Posted June 24, 2017

SpaceX smoothly pulled off its eighth launch of 2017, delivering to orbit Bulgaria's first communications satellite in what will be the most prolific launch month ever for the Hawthorne rocket maker. For example, SpaceX gave BulgariaSat (which paid for Friday's launch) enough of a discount to enable their mission. The rocket then landed on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

SpaceX has become expert at recovering the rockets. The rocket will launch from pad 39A, the same launch pad at NASA where numerous Apollo Missions launches from.

Musk says he wants to eventually reduce the cost of a launch by a factor of 100. SpaceX regularly lands and recovers the first stage of the rockets. SpaceX gives customers a 10 percent discount, when they agree to accept used rockets.

Speaking of launch trajectory, Elon Musk isn't optimistic about his chances of sticking the landing this time. Safety and mission success were critical in the design of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Shortly after the landing, he said that although the rocket was safe, it was worn out from the hard trek.

"Rocket is extra toasty and hit the deck hard (used nearly all of the emergency crush core), but otherwise good", Musk tweeted. Even the weather at Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral (Florida) was favourable. Just incase the rocket's takeoff does not go well the launch window reopens at 2:10PM ET Tomorrow. It is unknown what the fate of this booster will be, but it is unlikely it will fly again due to the hot landing it will face and it being a block 3 or less core. But it will carry an interesting payload: A group of satellites that will be used to help eliminate the "black zones" in tracking commercial airplanes, like the Malaysia Airlines flight which vanished somewhere over the Indian Ocean.

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.

The satellite was deployed to a geostationary transfer orbit about 35 minutes after launch.

SpaceX hopes to reuse its first stages as many as 10 times each, making launches a lot cheaper.