SpaceX successfully completes Falcon 9 launch, booster landing

Second launch in two days sends communication satellite into orbit.
By Laurel Kornfeld | Oct 16, 2017
For the second time in just three days, SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket into space and returned the first stage booster, which landed on a drone ship 200 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The October 11 launch marked several milestones for the company, including the 12th first stage booster return of 2017, the 18th such return in total, and the third launch of a previously flown rocket.

Last February, this Falcon 9 transported cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).

Following a 6:53 PM EDT (2253 UT) launch from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the first stage returned 8.5 minutes later while the second stage carried an EchoStar 105/SES-11 satellite into orbit.

That satellite is a joint project of EchoStar, a Colorado-based company, and SES, a firm in Luxembourg, which will provide North America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean with high-definition TV.

Two days earlier, on Monday, October 9, SpaceX launched 10 communications satellites for the company Iridium from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The first stage booster from that launch landed on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has frequently described his company's goal as greatly reducing the cost of spaceflight by developing rockets that are completely reusable in as little as 24 hours.

"We believe reusable rockets will open up a new era of spaceflight and make access to space more efficient in terms of cost and manifest management," SES CEO Martin Halliwell, whose company has previously launched satellites on Falcon 9 rockets, said in March of this year.

For EchoStar, this is the first flight on a Falcon 9.

Last month, Musk released his vision for colonizing Mars, a goal to which he views reusability as central, at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.

 

 

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