by Chris Tobias
On Thursday evening, March 30, SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 into the black for the second time in less than a month. This launch, SpaceX’s fourth so far this year, will be to deploy the SES-10 satellite, which is designed to facilitate video broadcasts and internet connectivity to Latin America and the Caribbean.
It’s a good bet that this mission will attract more attention because of the booster than it will for its payload though. That’s because this will be the first time that SpaceX carries out a mission using a Falcon 9 that has already been launched and recovered as part of a previous mission. If everything goes according to (the gorram) plan, SpaceX will prove without a doubt that we have entered the age of rockets that can be launched, recovered and relaunched effectively and affordably. If we are to have any hope of becoming a multi-planet species, or even one that lives and works out in the black, that is a milestone that must be achieved, and Elon Musk and his crew are poised to make that happen sooner rather than later.
SES-10 will launch from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center at 6pm EDT on Thursday, March 30. (There is a backup window on Friday, March 31 if necessary, but the weather actually looks more favorable for a Thursday launch at this point.) Following the launch, the Falcon 9 rocket’s reusable (and newly reused!) first stage will attempt a (second!) controlled landing on the autonomous drone ship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean.
Coverage of the mission should be live on SpaceX’s YouTube channel approximately twenty minutes before liftoff.