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SpaceX launches third pre-flown rocket with EchoStar-SES satellite, lands booster

12 October 2017

SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket on Monday carrying 10 satellites to bolster the global data communications network for Virginia-based company, Iridium.

The first stage of a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sits on the deck of a robotic "drone ship" in the Atlantic Ocean on October 11, 2017, shortly after helping launch the EchoStar 105/SES-11 communications satellite to orbit.

SpaceX managed to recover the first stage again.

EchoStar 105/SES-11 provides EchoStar with 24 Ku-band transponders of 36 MHz, marketed as EchoStar 105, while it provides SES with a C-band payload of 24 transponders, marketed under the name SES-11. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer, said in March that the company would likely use as many as six pre-flown boosters in 2017 to ease pressure on rocket manufacturing for the year. Newcomer satellite operator Bulgaria Sat was the second, with BulgariaSat-1 in June.

The rocket went through stage separation minutes into its ascent - and in what has now become a well-worn routine, the second stage blasted onward into orbit while the first stage went through a series of autonomous maneuvers to fly itself to its landing spot. It's only the third time SpaceX has reflown a rocket on an orbital mission. It'll provide Ku-band communication services through EchoStar for commercial and US government customers, as well as high-definition and ultra-high-def video service through SES in the C-band part of the spectrum. Visit for more information on this news.

EchoStar's half of the satellite is designed for television broadcast, government and enterprise communications. The mission is expected to last for at least 15 years.