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SpaceX schedules 'weekend doubleheader' of cross-country launches

Pace would be fastest the company has ever launched 2 rockets

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – The first company to relaunch a rocket and reland on a mission it will try to do it all again Friday, two days before attempting to launch another Falcon 9 rocket.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 launch that was scheduled for Monday was delayed until Friday due to a valve replacement on the rocket, CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter.

The new launch date sets up what SpaceX is calling a "weekend doubleheader."

The Falcon 9 rocket to launch Friday at the Kennedy Space Center first flew at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in January.

The company has been contracted to launch BulgariaSat-1, the country's first communications satellite designed to transmit television programming to the Balkans and southeastern Europe.

[Where to watch a rocket launch in Brevard]

After Friday's launch and attempted landing on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean from the Space Coast, SpaceX will launch another Falcon 9 Sunday on the west coast from Vandenberg, California.

"This is the fastest SpaceX has ever attempted to launch two rockets," CBS News space correspondent Bill Harwood said.

SpaceX first launched and landed a reusable or "flight proven" Falcon 9 during a March 30 satellite liftoff at from Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39A.

Musk called the spaceflight milestone the culmination of all his company's hard work.

Musk said during a news conference in March, after the successful launch, that he wanted to launch as many as six previously flown Falcon 9 rockets by the end of the year.

"This is a very ambitious schedule," Harwood said. "It's needed to launch off a backlog of satellites that were delayed because of earlier problems. They believe they can maintain this pace. It's going to be interesting to see if they really can pull this off."

"This is a key element to lower costs, by what he calls 'rapid reusability.' That's what's going to finance his dreams in the future of sending missions to Mars. To him, rapid reusability is the only way you can make this work."​

The two hour launch window opens at 2:10 p.m. Friday. Weather conditions are 90 percent favorable, according to Air Force weather officials.

Watch the launch live on News 6 and ClickOrlando.com.


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