SpaceX kicks off rocket launch double feature

SpaceX Set To Launch Previously Flown Rocket

The first geostationary satellite owned by Bulgarians, "BulgariaSat-1", blasted off into space today, on a Falcon 9 rocket provided and operated by the American company SpaceX.

Friday's launch will mark only the second time SpaceX has attempted to put a used, first-stage rocket booster back into space. It's slated to take off from the historic 39A launch pad at Nasa Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, where Neil Armstrong left from before landing on the moon in 1969.

The satellite will be positioned into orbit at 36,000 km above the Earth.

Which is why each and everyone of SpaceX's rocket launches are events hotly pursued by tech enthusiasts and the masses in general. 10 Iridium satellites will be onboard the Falcon9. 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's next launch happens in record time: Sunday at 1:25 p.m. Reusing rockets is a great way to bring down launch costs; building them from scratch costs millions of dollars.

"We think that this is a good choice and, yes, of course it saved us some money", said Zayakov. "We think this is going to be the way of the future, that launch vehicles aren't going to be throwaways". For example, SpaceX gave BulgariaSat (which paid for Friday's launch) enough of a discount to enable their mission. Because the main body of the rockets are being reused, therefore saving money for the SpaceX. In December of 2016, the original launch date passed, while the satellite had not been ready yet. If the launch opportunity fails, the launch will be re-scheduled for June 24.

"BulgariaSat-1" is supposed to provide TV signals for Bulsatcom subscribers in Bulgaria and elsewhere in Europe.

"A lot of that is turning things into routine, I would say, and learning just to deal with these operations better and better every time", said Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX vice president of flight reliability, of the company's high flight rate in 2017. SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Musk has championed reusability - once derided as a insane idea - to drive down launch costs and win a growing roster of customers, including the U.S. military.

Today's countdown was delayed by an hour to run additional ground checks, but the two-stage Falcon 9 rocket made a trouble-free liftoff at 3:10 p.m. ET (12:10 p.m. PT), in the middle of a two-hour launch window.

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