SpaceX launched 10 communication satellites into Earth low orbit on Monday, then watched its spent Falcon 9 first-stage rocket booster stick a landing on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean. "A successful landing of the first stage", SpaceX commentator John Innsbrucker said on the company's live webcast, as applause erupted at SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California.
A two-hour launch window opens at 6.53pm Florida time.
The Falcon 9 will carry a high-powered communications satellite, which will work double-duty for the USA -based operator EchoStar and Luxembourg-based SES.
SpaceX will launch a refurbished rocket from the Space Coast on Wednesday night if weather cooperates. This will be the third occasion ever that Musk's company launches a "flight proven" booster, a term they use to refer to previously-flown components. 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. That's more than any other country or company in the world has managed this year, and it's bound to make SpaceX's competitors quite uneasy.
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"The satellite will be deployed approximately 36 minutes after liftoff", SpaceX announced.
The powerful first stage will fall away after launch and is scheduled to land down-range onto SpaceX's floating barge, Of course I still love you.
The stream will begin about 15 minutes before liftoff.