BulgariaSat-1 (Falcon 9)
23 June 2017
Space Launch Complex 39A
Kennedy Space Center

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches BulgariaSat-1, a commercial communications satellite, into orbit from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center at 3:10 p.m. on 23 June 2017. Falcon 9’s first stage for the BulgariaSat-1 mission previously flew on the Iridium-1 mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in January of 2017. For BulgariaSat-1, the first stage successfully landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship located a few hundred miles east of the launch site a little over eight minutes after launch.

BulgariaSat-1 is a geostationary communications satellite built by Space Systems Loran providing direct-to-home television (DTH) and data communications services to the Balkans, Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and the Caucasus with its high-power European beam. In addition, BulgariaSat-1 is equipped with a spot beam which can be used to provide extra capacity over the Balkans. The satellite is designed to provide service for 15 years or longer.

The ride to the Saturn V Center and the Banana Creek Viewing Area to watch the launch featured a detour that afforded views of the Falcon 9 rocket topped by the bulging fairing containing BulgariaSat-1 sitting on Launch Complex 39A.
The NASA TV helicopter heads out to do a fly around of the launch pad.
Vapors from the loading of liquid oxygen aboard the Falcon 9 vent in a long plume away from the pad.
Liftoff at 3:10 p.m. after an hour delay to check on balky ground equipment.
Note the long shadows cast by the exhaust plume on the thin cloud deck. The Falcon 9 is the little orange speck at bottom right center.
A short video showing liquid oxygen vapors venting from the rocket during fueling showed at an accelerated speed and then the launch shown at normal speed. Note all the birds stirred up by the launch as the exhaust cloud dissipates.
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