by Jeff Cunningham
No holds. No scrubs. Just a spectacular streak of flame across the Florida sky as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 broke atmo last night. It was a gorgeous sight as the Falcon 9 lit up the night, one that made me very jealous of those that were able to watch in person.
SpaceX’s mission to launch the ABS 3A and EUTELSAT 115 West B satellites went off without a hitch. The Falcon 9 needed two second-stage burns in order to get the satellites to their desired orbits, so there was not enough propellant available for the first stage to attempt an historic recovery on SpaceX’s drone barge. That doesn’t diminish the success of this mission one bit though.
Last night marked the sixteenth launch of a Falcon 9, and a successful dual launch that demonstrated SpaceX’s ability to piggyback two satellites on a single booster, representing a cost savings to their clients that makes them a very competitive option for those looking to launch their shiny gadgets into the black. SpaceX’s ability to pull off missions like this not only means the likelihood of more business for Elon Musk and company, but it could also mean a significant increase in private launches on American soil as more companies look to get their hardware into orbit efficiently at the most affordable price.
SpaceX’s next launch is scheduled to happen in three weeks, but at present there’s no plan to attempt a booster recovery for that one either. That means we’ll have to wait a little while longer to see SpaceX take that next historic step towards rocket reusability, which they currently have planned for two launches from now.