Bulgaria will use next ‘pre-flown’ SpaceX rocket
May 8, 2017
By Chris Forrester
SpaceX will launch BulgariaSat-1 next month on a ‘pre-flow’ (or as SpaceX coyly describe it, “Flight-tested”) rocket that was previously used to launch a group of Iridium satellites back in January.
In its statement officials from BulgariaSat-1 say that their launch will happen in mid-June. Maxim Zayakov, CEO at BulgariaSat, said using a pre-flown first stage of the rocket lowers the launch price and “makes it possible for smaller countries and companies to launch their own satellites.”
Normally, an ‘all-new’ Falcon 9 rocket would cost around $62-$65 million according to SpaceX’s official rate card.
Bulgaria’s commitment to SpaceX is quite remarkable. Its launch contract with the Elon Musk-backed rocket company was signed 11 years ago in 2006, and when SpaceX was a much more risky idea than it is today.
BulgariaSat-1 was built by Space Systems/Loral. It will carry 32 transponders and is to be used for satellite broadcasting, and BulSatCom, a Bulgarian telecoms supplier and operating from 2 deg East.