SpaceX has launched a commercial satellite into orbit, using a Falcon 9 powered by a previously used first stage.
The Hawthorne, Calif.-based company previously used the first stage in April 2016 to lift a Dragon cargo craft in an International Space Station resupply mission. Its reuse — in a commercial mission to launch a satellite into orbit for sat-broadcaster SES SA of Luxembourg — marks an important milestone for SpaceX, which aims to reuse nearly all of its Falcon 9 first stages in the future to keep down customer costs.
And just for good measure, SpaceX again landed the first stage on a droneship floating near the launch site. The twice-used booster will be donated for potential display at Cape Kennedy, SpaceX chief Elon Musk said.
The SES-10 satellite was built by Airbus Defense and Space. It will provide TV broadcast services and mobile communications for Mexico and other parts of Latin America, and also will support Brazilian oil and gas exploration.