SpaceX Successfully Launches BulgariaSat-1

SpaceX Set To Launch Previously Flown Rocket

SpaceX Set To Launch Previously Flown Rocket

The company will be launching Bulgaria's first ever geostationary transfer orbit satellite using a rocket that had been in a prior launch. This Falcon 9 rocket was previously launched with an Iridium NEXT Constellation satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in January 2017.

Also, because the satellite's target orbit was tens of thousands of miles higher than a low-Earth orbit, the booster had barely enough fuel to land; in fact, Musk didn't expect it to survive. SpaceX landed that rocket, refurbished it and prepped it to launch yet again. Power is provided via six solar panels, and BulgariaSat-1 is the first satellite to ever sit in geostationary orbit above the country as well.

SpaceX has scheduled a launch of its BulgariaSat-1 mission at 11:10am PT, if the weather holds and no other issues come up.

Instead of simply using a rocket once and allowing it to burn up in the atmosphere, SpaceX has started to bring back these expensive rocket pieces to slash the cost of flying to space through reuse.

SpaceX is set to launch a "previously flown" Falcon 9 rocket Friday from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A, with the launch window opening at 2:10 p.m.

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"BulgariaSat-1" is supposed to provide TV signals for Bulsatcom subscribers in Bulgaria and elsewhere in Europe. "I think, in the future, it's going to be even more affordable because of reusability".

"We think that this is a good choice and, yes, of course it saved us some money", said Zayakov. You can read our analysis here - though it doesn't account for rocket accidents, launch schedule delays, and the emergence of reusable-rocket competitors like Blue Origin.

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Proving SpaceX can deliver multiple launches from the same vehicle is also critical for the company, which took a bit of a reputation whack after some high-profile vehicle losses in the past 24 months. He tweeted earlier on Friday that there was a "good chance" SpaceX wouldn't successfully recover the rocket because the mission requirements meant it would have a hard trip home.

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