SpaceX aces its second launch in three days

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket rises from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida with the SES-11/Echostar-105 telecommunications satellite. (SpaceX via YouTube)

Good things came in threes for SpaceX today: For the third time, it used a previously flown Falcon 9 rocket booster to send a payload into space, and had that booster land itself on an oceangoing platform.

Successful recovery of the first-stage booster after launching the Echostar 105/SES-11 telecommunications satellite could even set the double-flown stage for a third go-round.

It was the second Falcon 9 liftoff this week, coming after a launch from California on Oct. 9 that successfully put 10 Iridium Next telecom satellites in orbit.

Today’s flight was similarly successful, starting with the 6:53 p.m. ET (3:53 p.m. PT) launch from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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