SpaceX has once again made history, this time by completing two successful launches in three days.
On Friday, the space company re-used one of its Falcon 9 crafts to shoot a Bulgarian satellite up from Florida. On Sunday, it launched another 10 spacecraft from California for Iridium, a telecommunications company, the BBC reports.
In both missions, the Falcon first-stages came back to Earth under control, landing on drone ships that had been placed in the ocean. This brings SpaceX’s total landing successes to 13, for missions it actively sought to recover a booster.
Friday’s first-stage looked to have a particularly rough landing, and appeared bent on the live video feed. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk sent out the humorous tweet,
Rocket is extra toasty and hit the deck hard (used almost all of the emergency crush core), but otherwise good.
SpaceX does not expect to retrieve every booster it uses, because many satellite launches have re-entry speeds that are simply too fast to limit.
The Friday launch was conducted from the East Coast, at the Kennedy Space Center’s famous Apollo and shuttle pad, 39A. The refurbished Falcon 9 left at 15:10, local time, dropping off BulgariaSat-1 in orbit around 30 minutes later.
The spacecraft will be used to bring television to houses in Bulgaria and Serbia.
Another Iridium launch, conducted on a brand new Falcon, happened on the West Coast from the Vandenberg Air Force Base. Iridium previously launched 10 satellites in January, and is now replacing its global satellite network. On this launch were 10 more satellites.
There are six more launches scheduled for Iridium, to replace its existing network of 60 satellites. The company is in mobile communications, providing connections for military, oil and gas industries, as well as ships and broadcasters.
The new Iridium satellites also host payloads for tracking companies Aireon and EaxtEarth. The former tracks aircraft positions, while the latter focuses on sea vessels.