With 15 successful launches this year, SpaceX has managed to become a leading player in the satellite launch market. Among them, two launches took place this week within a matter of 3 days.
And the latest launch that took place on October 11 used a previously flown Falcon 9 booster to deploy the commercial SES-11/EchoStar 105 Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV satellite serving North America, in Earth’s Orbit. EchoStar 105/SES-11 is a high-powered hybrid Ku and C-band communications satellite that was launched as a dual-mission satellite for US-based operator EchoStar and Luxembourg-based operator SES.
The unmanned, re-used Falcon 9 booster lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida at 18: 53 EDT and successfully deployed the two and a half ton EchoStar 105/SES-11 to the geostationary orbit some 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the equator. The astonishing thing is that SpaceX managed to recover the re-used satellite by successfully soft landing it back on Earth on a drone-ship platform prepositioned hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. And this was the 2nd time within three days that, SpaceX efficiently re-landed the Falcon 9 booster back on Earth.
On October 9, a first stage Falcon 9 booster was also successfully recovered through a soft landing, and hence, it will be further reused for upcoming launches. Actually, the first stage booster reused for the satellite launch on Monday was first used to launch a Dragon cargo to the International Space Station in the month of February, and now after successfully recovering the reused rocket, SpaceX has proved that it can successfully deliver re-usable rockets and also can efficiently recover them too.
This would definitely reduce the cost of satellite launches, and as a result, more and more satellites and space probes can be launched in future. SpaceX is constantly trying to successfully recover as many rockets as possible with minimum damage and Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, has recently announced that the company is going to use its rockets to colonize Mars.