"BulgariaSat-1 is the first geostationary communications satellite in Bulgaria's history", SpaceX added.
The first stage also landed successfully on the company's drone ship in the Atlantic ocean, "Of course I still love you", making it the first ever to have successfully landed on both of SpaceX's two ocean-borne drone landing vessels. If things don't go as planned, there's another launch window tomorrow at 2:10 PM ET.
SpaceX's rocket launches are events, more than anything else. The first stage for this launch first flew in January on a launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying 10 Iridium Next satellites into orbit before landing on a ship offshore.
"This is the fastest SpaceX has ever attempted to launch two rockets", CBS News space correspondent Bill Harwood said. No communications satellite mission is truly done until it is declared operational, but it is safe to say that BulgariaSat-1 has had a nominal journey thus far. The Ku-band satellite will provide television programming across the Balkans. The satellite has been boosted into the proper orbit and is preparing to deploy.
The rapid-fire launch schedule over the past two months reflects SpaceX's drive to work off a backlog of satellites delayed by earlier problems, including a September 1 launch pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 and its satellite payload at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The launch and landing was streamed on SpaceX's website.
SpaceX wants to reuse its rockets in order to drastically reduce the price of a single launch. It was a three-engine landing burn, the "most hard to date", he commented once the first-stage of the rocket booster was back on Earth.
Today, the Falcon 9's second stage - which was flying for the first time - did its job, continuing to power BulgariaSat-1 to orbit.
"This is a key element to lower costs, by what he calls 'rapid reusability.' That's what's going to finance his dreams in the future of sending missions to Mars".
Sunday's launch won't use a pre-flown booster. The recoveries are seen as a major cost-cutting evolution in space flight, allowing the re-use of the multimillion-dollar rockets instead of allowing them to burn up on reentry and fall into the ocean.