Two Falcon-9 rockets reached space during last weekend and delivered ten Iridium satellites and first Bulgarian GEO communications satellite, BulgariaSat-1.
It was pretty hard weekend for SpaceX. Two launches contracted for two different companies with two different payloads and from two different launch sites were surely exhausting for launch team specialists. SpaceX managed to show its professionalism and conducted both missions perfectly delivering contracted payload to designated orbits.
Launch conducted on Friday took its place from Kennedy Space Center, from Launch Pad 39A. It was performed punctually at 19:10 UTC. Mission objective was delivering BulgariaSat-1 to STO orbit and also landing of the first stage of the Falcon-9 rocket on robotic ship “Of Course I Still Love You.” After flawless flight and correct separation of the first stage weighing 3700 kg BulgariaSat-1 reached supersynchronous transfer orbit with apogee place over 60000 km from Earth. SpaceX decided to reduce costs of this mission and used for the second time booster utilized once during CRS-8 mission in 2016. Satellite reported shortly after injecting its perfect condition and after first tests it started orbit change maneuver with utilization of R-4D-11 engine.
Delivering Iridium-11-20 satellites was planned for Sunday from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Launch was performed at 20:25 UTC from Space Launch Complex 4-East. This time SpaceX also planned and performed successfully landing of the booster on another drone ship “Just Read the Instructions”. Deployment of the satellites and landing were conducted perfectly; satellites were deployed on 625 km orbit with inclination of 86.66 degrees.
Next launch of Falcon-9 with Intelsat-35E is planned for not earlier than 4th July 2017 from Kennedy Space Center.