SpaceX readies for first relaunch of 'flight-proven' Falcon 9

Launch window opens Thursday at 6 p.m.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX is planning to launch a flight-proven Falcon 9 booster Thursday carrying a communication satellite from Cape Canaveral.

The launch will be the first reused rocket to fly on a mission.

SpaceX does not refer to the Falcon 9 boosters for its uncrewed missions as “used,” but prefers to call them “flight-proven.”

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk plans to dramatically cut down the costs of launching rockets by reusing the first stage.

Originally scheduled for Wednesday, testing delays have pushed back the SES-10 satellite launch from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A.

A static fire was conducted Monday setting the stage for Thursday’s liftoff.

The 2 1/2-hour launch window opens Thursday at 6:27 p.m. EST.

There is a 70 percent chance for favorable launch conditions Thursday, U.S. Air Force weather officials said.

SES-10 will replace two older communication satellites and provide coverage over Latin America, according to the satellite company.

The flight-proven Falcon 9 booster first launched last April and was recovered after landing on the SpaceX drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the first time SpaceX or any company landed a booster in the ocean.

SES was the first commercial satellite provider to contract SpaceX for a launch in 2013. The company will be first again using a flight-proven SpaceX booster.

“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 Chief Technology Officer Martin Halliwell said. “This new agreement reached with SpaceX once again illustrates the faith we have in their technical and operational expertise.”

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said the relaunch would be an important milestone for the California-based company.