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SpaceX is planning to launch Thaicom-8, a satellite for Thaicom, on Thursday evening (the launch window opens at 17.40pm EDT/21.40 GMT) from Cape Canaveral.
Thaicom-8 was built by Orbital ATK and is planned to orbit at 78.5 degrees East and serve India, Thailand and parts of Africa.
This “full thrust” version of its Falcon-9 rocket is being used, and is the 25th launch of a Falcon rocket and the 5th this year. As has been the case with a growing number of the SpaceX launches, the company will again attempt to land the valuable 1st stage of the rocket onto the “Of course I still love you” floating barge a few hundred miles down range from the Complex 40 launch site at the Cape.
The plan from the SpaceX team is that this landing will again be successful, making this the 3rd successive time that the barge landing has performed optimally.
However, barge landings are difficult. In July SpaceX will launch a supply mission to the International Space Station and this will permit an attempt a landing back to Earth at Cape Canaveral.
One way or another SpaceX is rapidly building up a series of tangible experiences in re-landing rockets.