For the second time, SpaceX launches flight-proven rocket, sticks landing

Elon Musk says rocket is 'extra toasty' after hard landing

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX launched a Bulgarian television satellite on a "flight-proven" rocket Friday afternoon from Kennedy Space Center, kicking off a doubleheader weekend with the first of two planned launches, first on the East Coast and then on the West Coast.

This liftoff marked the second mission during which a recycled rocket booster was flown by SpaceX.  A second success brings the company's founder Elon Musk closer to making re-used rocket launches the new normal in pursuit of his ultimate goal of starting a colony on Mars.

The Bulgaria-Sat-1 launch was delayed from Monday to Friday to allow time for SpaceX to replace a fairing valve. Then, "additional ground systems checks" pushed back the original 2:10 p.m. liftoff to 3:10 p.m., leaving a one-hour window open.

The Falcon 9 was delivering to space an 8,000-pound communications satellite for Bulgaria, providing television and data services to the region of Europe. The satellite was the second to ever fly on a flight-proven rocket.

The previously flown Falcon 9 booster No. 29 first launched and landed in January.

About eight minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9’s first stage touched down on the drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You, in the Atlantic Ocean, making it the 12th booster to be recovered by SpaceX.

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