SpaceX launched the last of telecom satellite operator Inmarsat’s first-generation Global Xpress satellites May 15 on a mission where SpaceX did not attempt to recover the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage.
A communications satellite built for a Bulgarian operator will be the second payload to launch on a previously-flown Falcon 9, that operator announced May 5.
CEO Matt Desch said the next batch of 10 Iridium Next satellites is scheduled for launch June 29.
The company successfully landed the first stage booster after fairing separation of the NRO payload.
SpaceX has completed the first reusable orbital launch since the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle, delivering the SES-10 telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit with a rocket that first flew last April for NASA.
But the military won’t be using a reusable rocket anytime soon
Spanish satellite operator Hisdesat is trying to retrieve money it paid Kosmotras for a long-overdue Dnepr launch of a radar satellite that Hisdesat has rebooked on a SpaceX Falcon 9 for a flight late this year.
SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell says using Falcon 9 rockets with pre-flown first stages will enable the company to execute on its backlog, which is currently loaded with customers that expected to have their satellites launched in 2016.
That launch, of the SES-10 satellite, is planned before the end of March. Five more previously flown boosters are also planned later this year.
Delays in SpaceX’s launch schedule have led an aggregator of secondary payloads to find alternative rides for dozens of satellites it planned to fly on a Falcon 9.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off for the first time from a launch site at KSC previously used by Apollo and shuttle missions Feb. 19, placing a Dragon cargo spacecraft into orbit.
The first launch by SpaceX from an historic KSC launch pad will be delayed by at least a day after a technical problem scrubbed an attempted launch of a Dragon cargo spacecraft Feb. 18.
SpaceX said Feb. 17 that, other a technical issue with the upper stage of its Falcon 9 rocket, it is ready to perform its first launch from a historic launch pad here last used by the space shuttle more than five years ago.
A draft version of the report notes that engineers have found cracks in turbine blades in the turbopumps of the engines.