SpaceX to Launch Satellite with Pre-Flown Rocket Tonight


The rocket is set to blast off at 6:53 p.m. from Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX will stream the entire launch for free on YouTube.

The payload to be launched today is the SES-11/EchoStar 105 geostationary communications satellite, which will eventually help provide high speed data services to the North Americas, namely digital television.

SpaceX will deliver a communications satellite created to broadcast television over the US and parts of the Caribbean this evening.

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After carrying SpaceX's Dragon capsule to the edge of space last winter, the rocket's first stage detached and fell back to Earth before executing a controlled landing at SpaceX's ground-based Landing Zone 1. While the current version of Falcon 9 is less easily reused than it could be, precisely that issue will be dealt with through the introduction of Falcon 9 Block 5, which will feature an array of upgrades meant to ready the vehicle for crewed flights but also to drastically improve the ease of Falcon 9 reuse. SpaceX has carried out 14 flights this year so far, and if Wednesday's mission is successful, it would allow the company to achieve its goal of 20 flights by the end of the year.

Minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9's second stage separated and proceeded to orbit for satellite deployment. About seven minutes after launch, the tall portion of the Falcon 9, known as the first stage, returned to Earth for an upright landing.

The launching and landing marked another success for Elon Musk's private spaceflight company, which has been trying to make space travel more routine and cost effective, the website stated. The rocket first flew on February 19th as part of a mission for NASA.

SpaxeX has only launched what it calls "flight proven" boosters twice before, but the company hopes a successful mission today will prove that the practice is reliable.