Falcon 9 reuses first stage in launch of Bulgariasat 1 comsat

by | Jun 26, 2017 | commercial launch services, Seradata News, SpaceX

A four-metric-ton communications satellite, called Bulgariasat, 1 was successfully launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by a Falcon 9v1.2RR (Block 3) rocket at 0918 GMT on 23 June 2017. The launch took place from the LC39A pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the USA. The first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle landed successfully on the drone ship, “Of Course I Still Love You”.  The Bulgariasat 1 is to offer Ku-band communications services over Bulgaria and Serbia from its position over 1.9 degrees East.

The landing of the first stage was reported by SpaceX founder Elon Musk to harder than usual using most of the rocket stage’s “crush core capacity”. More than usual re-entry heating damage to the stage’s thermal protection system was also reported.

Before being used on the Bulgariasat-1 flight, the first stage had been used to launch ten Iridium satellites in January 2017, from Vandenberg, California. Its recovery also took place on a barge.

This was the second flight of a reusable first stage. (The previous one was on the SES-10 launch in March 2017).

While currently flying in Block 3 form, there are plans to upgrade the Falcon 9 rocket series via a Block 4 version to the final Block 5, which is designed to have a first stage cable of more flights than the current maximum of three or so.

Falcon 9 launch of Bulgariasat 1. Courtesy: SpaceX

Comment by David Todd: 

SpaceX notes that it has cut the refurbishment time between flights by several months and now plans to increase the number of reuses for each first stage. The European Space Agency (ESA), which to date has eschewed reusable launch vehicles, save for a small investment in the UK-based Reaction Engines Limited, has now decided to invest in pure reusable rocket technology. On 21 June ESA formally signed a contract worth €80 million (US$90 million) with Ariane Group (formerly known as Airbus Safran Launchers) to develop the Prometheus Liquid Oxygen(LOx)/Methane powered reusable engine. However, just copying the reusable ideas of SpaceX (and Blue Origin) is probably not the way to go. Reaction Engines’ single stage to orbit reusable design, using air breathing rockets, is the better bet if the Ariane Group wants to jump ahead of SpaceX and Blue Origin rather than just follow them. Then again, as a small investor in the firm, this writer would say that, wouldn’t he?


About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to https://www.seradata.com/product/

Related Articles

Viasat completes US$6.3 billion Inmarsat acquisition in a major satcom merger

Global Fixed Service Satellite (FSS) operator Viasat Inc has closed its long awaited acquisition of Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications Read more

Falcon 9 launches from Vandenberg with 52 Starlink Group 2-10 satellites aboard

A Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 0602 GMT on 31 Read more

North Korean Chollima-1 maiden launch ends in second stage failure – sets off neighbours’ alarms

North Korea attempted to orbit a military reconnaissance satellite Malligyeong-1 using its new Chollima-1 rocket from a pad at the Read more

Smaller orders: launches for Haven-1 space station and its Vast-1 mission, for EWS-1 prototype; sat contracts for Zeno and Orbit Fab

Commercial space station operator Vast has signed a contract with SpaceX for the launches of its first space station and Read more

Long March 2F launches “Taikonaut” trio to Chinese Space Station on Shenzhou 16

A Long March 2F/G (Y16) launched Shenzhou 16 with three Chinese astronauts ("Taikonauts") on board on their way to the Read more

GSLV Mk II puts up NVS-01 navsat

An Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) GSLV Mk II rocket (GSLV 2 CUSP 4) was successfully launched from Satish Dhawan Read more

Russia launches Kondor-FKA radar satellite

On 2114 GMT on 26 May 2023, a Soyuz 2-1a/Fregat launched a Kondor-FKA No 1 satellite for Roscosmos. The 1,050 Read more

BADR-8 comsat is launched by a Falcon 9 into a super-synchronous transfer orbit

The Arabsat-owned communications satellite BADR-8 aka Arabsat-7B was launched by a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 from Cape Canaveral at 0430 Read more




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochina25virgin galacticfalcon 9ULARoscosmosFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 5DGAevaaviation weekspacewalkaressoyuzIGTBeidouawardsInternational Space StationspaceBlue OriginSatellite broadcastingrussiamoonStarlinkCargo Return VehicleRocket LabresearchboeingmarsblogAirbus DSOneWeborionISROspaceshiptwoimpacthyperboladelayjaxamarsdemocratgoogle lunar prizerocketlunarhypertextobamaEutelsatlaunchVegatourismconstellationbarack obamafiguresSESnorthspaceflightthales alenia spacenode 2fundedRaymond LygoIntelsat2009romeAtlas VExpress MD-2dassault aviationss2Elon MuskLockheed MartinaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiotestmissilesuborbitaldocking portexplorationVirgin OrbitinternetAriane 5 ECAChina Manned Space EngineeringSLSsts-122missile defensenewspapercotsgalileospace tourismflight2010Ariane 5Express AMU 1spaceportbuildspace stationaltairNorthrop GrummanElectronshuttleProton Minternational astronautical congressscaled compositesIntelsat 23CosmosLauncherOneEuropean Space Agencyhanleybudgetrulesnew yorksoyuz 2-1aLong March 4CLong March 2D/2Ariane 6shenzhouatvspace shuttleVietnamcongressMojaveboldenInmarsatOrbital ATKnew shepardLong March 2CGuiana Space CenteriaccnesksclawsSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BprotonUS Air ForceILSApollodarpaTalulah RileydragonastronautusabasepicturelanderAstriumSkyloneuSSLVega Clunar landerfiveeventfalconSea LaunchWednesdayinterview50thSNCAprilKuaizhou 1ASpace InsuranceTelesat7linkatlantisLong MarchcustomersuccessorFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5