SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a satellite into space for NATO ally Luxembourg and operator SES with a previously flown first stage, CBS News reported Wednesday.
It was the sixth time SpaceX has successfully used pre-flown first stage of the Falcon 9, a key component to its founder's Elon Musk goal of lowering the cost of space travel, CBS News said. The rocket launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:25 p.m.
The first stage, which was initially thought to not have enough left-over propellant to attempt a normal landing back at Cape Canaveral or on an off-shore droneship, managed to "touchdown" in the Atlantic Ocean and remain intact, CBS News reported.
Musk said on Twitter that SpaceX will attempt to tow the rocket back to shore.
The GovSat 1 satellite was released to fly once the second stage reached the desired elliptical orbit, the network said. The satellite will provide jam-resistant, encrypted military and government communications across Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Africa for Luxembourg, NATO and allied nations, wrote CBS News.
SpaceX's launch comes after last month's mysterious launch and apparent failure of the classified military satellite code-named Zuma, Bloomberg reported. SpaceX officials charged that its rockets performed as expected during the launch.
Bloomberg wrote that it appeared the satellite crashed into the sea after a malfunction while being boosted into orbit.
"After review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately," SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said in an emailed statement last month about the Zuma mission. "Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible."
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