The Falcon 9 rocket was previously launched in January from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. But no matter, the first stage booster hit the mark on Just Read the Instructions all the same.
This launch marked the second time that SpaceX has reflown a Falcon 9 first stage, after the March launch of the SES-10 satellite.
Apart from being weekend of firsts for SpaceX, it was also the first time Bulgaria launched a telecommunications satellite.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 landed without incident on Space X's West Coast drone ship in conditions described as "windy and marginal", the Hawthorne company said. That mission also employed the company's first reused Dragon spacecraft, flown previously on the CRS-4 mission in the fall of 2014.More news: N Ireland party signs deals to support UK Conservative gov't
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SpaceX has weathered failures over the years as its entrepreneur-owner Elon Musk has experimented with new rocket landing techniques that haven't always panned out. This should save SpaceX millions of dollars and reduce the time between launches. "Of Course I Still Love You" is the name of the drone ship which is situated in the Atlantic Ocean waiting for the Falcon9's landing. Musk even warned that there was a "good chance the rocket booster doesn't make it back".
Iridium Communications' second batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites lifted off Sunday aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to join the initial batch of satellites that took off in January. Iridium NEXT is expected to enable new capabilities like global aircraft surveillance and tracking services, as well as a communications platform that the company anticipates will bring broadband speeds to remote locations of the globe.
The mission is titled BulgariaSat-1 and is carrying the payload of Bulgaria's very first geostationary communications satellite. The latest mission delivered a group of satellites into orbit for the company Iridium, SpaceX's largest commercial customer.
There are six more launches scheduled for Iridium, to replace its existing network of 60 satellites.