Elon Musk's SpaceX marks 2nd rocket success in 4 days

TechCrunch reported that SpaceX will launch again Wednesday, sending an EchoStar and SES joint high-powered communications satellite in space from Kennedy Space Center in Florida with a reusable Falcon 9 first stage rocket.

The first stage of a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sits on the deck of a robotic "drone ship" in the Atlantic Ocean on October 11, 2017, shortly after helping launch the EchoStar 105/SES-11 communications satellite to orbit.

It is a "dual-mission" satellite for the US-based operator EchoStar and Luxembourg-based operator SES.

Some four minutes after launch, the already pre-flown first stage of the rocket landed on a floating barge (named "Of course I still love you") some 600 kms downrange and off Florida's East coast. SpaceX successfully launched a recycled rocket component for the first time in March in a bid to make the rocket travels more affordable and cut down the cost of highly expensive rocket components. And that did indeed happen; the Falcon 9's second stage deployed the satellite into its planned geostationary transfer orbit 36 minutes after liftoff. This will be the third occasion ever that Musk's company launches a "flight proven" booster, a term they use to refer to previously-flown components.

The launch for LC-39A occurred at the beginning of SpaceX's two-hour window, which opened at 6:53 PM EDT. This means that Falcon 9's first stage rocket will becoming down faster with less fuel to slow its descent than missions to lower orbits. The company's previous mission was less than three days ago, launching 10 Iridium Next satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It's only the third time SpaceX has reflown a rocket on an orbital mission.



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