The Falcon 9 will send a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station, with the first stage landing at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zone 1.
SpaceX said the test was a success, setting the stage for a launch late Thursday of a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.
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.