Watch SpaceX launch a used rocket and attempt an extra-tricky landing

SpaceX retrieved the rocket and spent the next few months refurbishing it in preparation for today's launch. SpaceX gives customers a 10 percent discount, when they agree to accept used rockets.

"Rocket is extra toasty and hit the deck hard, used nearly all of the emergency crush core, but otherwise good", Musk posted following the landing.

After previously revealing that this recovery would be the most trying attempt yet for the Falcon 9's first stage, Musk has now confirmed what most of fans already surmised from the live coverage.

After the BulgariaSat-1 mission, the next in line is a June 25 launch of 10 satellites for Iridium Communications Inc from Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's central coast.

It will be the second of seven such flights to put 70 of the compact satellites into orbit as Iridium upgrades its constellation of telephone-and-data relay stations. The company hopes to turn around first-stage boosters for reflight nearly immediately, as it works to expand affordable commercial space access.

Bulgariasat-1 was designed based on the powerful SSL 1300 platform, which is expected to service Bulgaria and most of the Eastern European region for 15 years.

Instead of simply using a rocket once and allowing it to burn up in the atmosphere, SpaceX has started to bring back these expensive rocket pieces to slash the cost of flying to space through reuse. Reduce the cost of access to space so that a small company in a small country can tap into the power of space communications.

"We think that this is a good choice and, yes, of course it saved us some money", said Zayakov. "I think, in the future, it's going to be even more affordable because of reusability". Company founder Elon Musk noted that Friday's attempt was one of the most hard recovery efforts, saying the returning rocket "will experience its highest ever re-entry force and heat". After initially climbing straight up, the booster arced gracefully away to the east and disappeared from view over the Atlantic Ocean.

The launch site has an interesting history, since Apollo and Space Shuttle missions started there as well. That booster came back down to Earth for a second landing as well. It will be placed 22,300 miles in space at the Bulgarian orbital position.

Shortly before, SpaceX had run ground system checks and confirmed that both the rocket and the payload, meaning the satellite, had been in "good health".

Another look at liftoff from historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

The new launch date sets up what SpaceX is calling a "weekend doubleheader".

The mission was the second for the Falcon 9 first stage, which had previously launched and safely landed on January 14.