Bulgaria’s debut satellite delayed

SpaceX had planned to launch June 19th BulgariaSat-1 aboard a refurbished, ‘flight-proven’ 1st stage Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, a faulty valve in the rocket has had to be swapped out and the re-scheduled launch is likely to be June 23rd or 24th.

The rocket’s pre-used 1st stage was flown back on January 14th to launch 10 smallish Iridium telecoms satellites from Vandenberg Air Base in California and recovered on a floating barge on the Pacific. The landing barge is called “Just Read The Instructions”.

The launch, when it takes place, is also set for a recovery of the rocket’s 1st stage. This time the barge (named: “Of Course I Still Love You”) is in the Atlantic and where the controlled landing will be attempted.

BulgariaSat-1 was built by Space Systems/Loral which contracted with SpaceX for the launch. BulgariaSat-1 is communications satellite which will be used for DTH transmissions over the region including Serbia.

The rocket’s 9 Merlin 1D engines were tested June 15th ahead of the launch.

The next Florida launch for SpaceX is set for early July when an Intelsat ‘Epic’ satellite (35e) is scheduled.

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