Spaceflight Insider

Photo Gallery: SpaceX launches SES-10 on previously flown Falcon 9

Falcon 9 launches SES-10

Falcon 9 takes flight with SES-10. Photo Credit: Michael Deep / SpaceFlight Insider

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — On March 30, 2017, SpaceX once again made history. From Launch Complex 39A, the 15-year-old NewSpace company accomplished what many in the space industry thought was impossible, flying a previously flown orbital-class rocket.

At 6:27 p.m. EDT (22:27 GMT), in clear-blue skies, the 230-foot (70-meter) tall Falcon 9 leapt off the pad to send the SES-10 communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit. Some 2.5-minutes after liftoff, the first stage finished its job and separated from the second stage and payload.

While the second stage continued on its way to deliver the all-important satellite, the first stage continued on a trajectory that would take it toward SpaceX’s Automated Spaceport Drone Ship Of Course I Still Love You downrange in the Atlantic Ocean. After a series of burns, the booster landed successfully on the drone ship, marking the second time this core landed on this ocean-going platform.

Video courtesy of SpaceFlight Insider

Core 1021, as it is also known, powered toward space on its first mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 in April 2016 when it sent the CRS-8 Dragon cargo freighter on its way to the International Space Station.

Now that it made history by being SpaceX’s first booster flown twice, Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, offered to give the stage to the Cape as a gift once it returns back to Port Canaveral.

The following photos were taken by the SpaceFlight Insider Visual Team.

SES-10On Thursday March 30, 2017, Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) launched one of their Falcon 9 "Full Thrust" rockets from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A located in Florida. The payload for this flight was the SES-10 communications satellite. The SpaceX launch team had approximately two and a half hours in which to get the rocket and its payload off of the pad and on its way to orbit, with the widow opening at approximately 6: 27 p.m EDT (22:27 GMT). The rocket's first stage then conducted a controlled reentry and landed on SpaceX's "Of Course I Still Love You" Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship that was positioned out in the Atlantic Ocean. Which, in turn, carried the F9 Core 1021 to Port Canaveral in Florida. Photos courtesy: Carleton Bailie, Sean Costello, Mike Deep, Michael McCabe, Michael Seeley, Vikash Mahadeo, Michael Howard, Tom Cross

 

 

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