SpaceX launches Luxembourg satellite with used rocket

Updated 2018-02-01 13:47:01 Xinhua

Private U.S. firm SpaceX on Wednesday launched a secure communications satellite for Luxembourg with a Falcon 9 rocket whose first stage has already been used for a previous launch.

The GovSat-1 satellite took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:25 p.m. EST (2125 GMT), a live webcast showed.

The first stage of the rocket for the mission previously helped launch a spy satellite called NROL-76 for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office in May 2017.

Unlike previous launches, SpaceX made no attempt to recover the first stage this time.

Wednesday's launch also marked the sixth time that SpaceX reused the first stage, advancing CEO Elon Musk's efforts to bring down spaceflight costs by using reusable rockets.

GovSat-1 is the first satellite of GovSat, a public-private partnership between the government of Luxembourg and the commercial-satellite operator SES, which is headquartered in the small European country.

SpaceX said the satellite, which will be positioned in the Geostationary Earth Orbit 36,000 kilometers above the equator, is "designed exclusively to address governmental and institutional security user needs."

The launch came less than a month after the classified Zuma mission launched by SpaceX for the U.S. government reportedly ended with its payload falling into the ocean.

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