SpaceX BulgariaSat-1 Mission On Track For Tomorrow

by Lawrence Cooper June 24, 2017, 0:11

The satellite in question is the BulgariaSat-1, and it will attempt to deliver a geostationary orbital commercial communications satellite to earth's orbit. This will be the second used booster to ever launch, and, as an added bonus, SpaceX will be attempting to land the rocket upright on a drone ship at sea, something it's only accomplished half a dozen times. If things don't go as planned, there's another launch window tomorrow at 2:10 PM ET.

On Jan. 14, the first 10 Iridium next-generation satellites were carried to orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc.

After Friday's launch, SpaceX was again able to safely recapture the first-stage rocket. BulgariaSat-1 is based on the SSL 1300 satellite platform and will be used to provide HD TV and other fixed-position satellite services.

"BulgariaSat-1's payload includes 30 Broadcast Satellite Service (BSS) Ku-band transponders and two Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) Ku-band transponders, in order to meet the current demand for high quality HDTV and Ultra HDTV broadcasting, as well as various other communications applications". After touchdown the booster was secured on the Droneship deck and transported to the Los Angeles port, where it was lifted by a crane, had its landing legs removed and sent directly to Florida for its next flight.

That launch was supposed to occur last Monday, but it was delayed due to an issue with the rocket's fairing - the very top portion of the rocket that houses the payload. The booster was recovered, refurbished and reused, as part of SpaceX's long-running campaign to reduce the cost of access to space through rocket reusability. "We look forward to BulgariaSat-1 making history as the second satellite ever to launch on a Falcon 9 that has flown a previous mission".

Falcon 9 will launch the Bulgarian satellite from LC-39A pad, home of the historic Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. Regardless, it would appear that the test was quite successful and the data gathered will likely assist SpaceX in the future.

"While this is still a secondary objective, this landing is going to prove to be extra challenging for us", said SpaceX engineer John Federspiel during the launch pre-show.

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