WASHINGTON — SpaceX completed its third launch with a previously used first stage booster Oct. 11, carrying a geostationary satellite for customers EchoStar and SES.
The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 6:53 p.m. Eastern from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at the beginning of a 2-hour launch window. EchoStar-105/SES-11 separated from the rocket’s upper stage roughly 36 minutes into the mission as planned.
The Falcon 9 booster, separating from the rocket’s upper stage about 2 and a half minutes after liftoff, returned to SpaceX’s drone ship “Off Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean. The same booster first flew on a February mission to the International Space Station with a Dragon capsule.
EchoStar-105/SES-11 was originally set to launch in late 2016, but suffered a year-long delay because of SpaceX’s September 2016 Falcon 9 explosion. The satellite will cover the Americas, including Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean, from the 105 degrees west orbital location.
SpaceX is now halfway toward its goal of launching up to six pre-flown first stages this year. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer, said in March that the company would likely use as many as six pre-flown boosters in 2017 ...