CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roared across the colorful Space Coast sky Wednesday evening delivering a hybrid satellite into orbit.
The launch was the second for the rocket's previously-flown first stage, marking the third mission with “used” hardware for SpaceX.
Falcon 9’s payload included the dual communications satellites, EchoStar 105/SES-11, for Luxemburg company, SES. The company was the first to take the leap, contracting a “flight proven” booster—as SpaceX likes to call them—to launch its product.
“An exciting time for all involved, reaching beyond frontiers,” SES tweeted just before launch.
Liftoff happened right on time at 6:53 p.m. in the first minute of the two-hour window, just before sunset.
Several minutes after launch the first and second-stages separated, sending the payload onward and part of the rocket back down to earth.
After a few moments of suspense, the first stage landed on the droneship, Of Course I Still Love You, in the Atlantic Ocean. The rocket hardware will then arrive back at Port Canaveral in a few days’ time.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said he wants to make new boosters a thing of the past, as his company begins using more and more recycled hardware.
[Watch the launch in 360 below]
ULA tries again to launch to-secret mission
United Launch Alliance could try again this weekend to launch its Atlas V rocket with a top-secret payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.
After trying three days in a row, ULA scrubbed the NROL-52 launch Saturday due to a telemetry issue with a transmitter on the rocket.
ULA officials said Wednesday that the telemetry transmitter had been replaced and tested. The launch is scheduled for no earlier than Saturday.
The 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron estimates that Saturday’s weather will be 60 percent go, with a backup date of Sunday also at 60 percent.
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