Ready for Launch

After being postponed from its originally scheduled Monday launch, Bulgaria's first-ever telecommunications satellite is now in orbit. The launch was a success thanks to SpaceX's Falcon 9 reusable rocket, which blasted off to space on Friday from the Launch Complex of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This marks the first part of SpaceX's first-ever weekend doubleheader, as Elon Musk's venture space company has scheduled two launches just about 48 hours apart. The launch appeared to go off without a hitch, as this photo taken by a Twitter user John Kraus shows.

Image credit: John Kraus/Twitter
SpaceX used a previously launched rocket to haul BulgariaSat-1 into orbital space. It's the second time SpaceX has successfully reused a rocket for a launch. The BulgariaSat-1 is the second satellite Bulgaria has in orbit, blasting off almost 36 years after the first.

Bye Bye, Rocket Booster

For his part, SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk seemed satisfied with today's launch, if his tweets were any indication. What may have been even more exciting than watching the Falcon 9 lift off was following its descent back to Earth as it attempted to land on one of SpaceX's barge platforms. The rocket made a solid thud as it hit the surface of the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which is stationed somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

Musk expected the landing wouldn't be too gentle, adding that the Falcon 9 was going to "experience its highest ever reentry force and heat in today's launch," he posted on a tweet before the launch. "Good chance rocket booster doesn't make it back."

Fortunately, it was able to make it in one piece — although it may have hit the surface of the platform a little to hard.

The good news was that the crush core, as Musk explained in a reply on the same thread as his initial tweet, would take only a couple of hours to replace:

So, despite a little bumpy landing, overall Friday's launch was deemed a success. But the excitement is far from over: Sunday will usher in part two of this weekend's doubleheader, when a payload of 10 satellites for telecommunication company Iridium is expected to launch from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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