SpaceX Launches New Communications Satellite, Sticks Rocket Landing

Pablo Tucker
September 12, 2018

SpaceX's upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 will help the company achieve its goal of vastly cheaper spaceflight, in which it aims to fly the boosters up to 10 times with little maintenance, and 100 with refurbishment. The rocket was carrying the Telstar 18 VANTAGE commercial communications satellite which was deployed approximately 32 minutes after liftoff to geostationary transfer orbit.

At 15,564 lbs, the satellite is the second heaviest communications satellite ever launched and is created to last about 15 years in orbit, reports.

The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 12:45 a.m.

The rocket will deliver into orbit the first satellite for Bangladesh.

Today's launch marked the 16th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket since the beginning of 2018 and the fourth time a "Block 5" booster has soared to the skies, notes Ars Technica.

The rocket's first stage landed successfully on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" and will be recovered for the next mission. The droneship, which was named in honor of sci-fi author Iain Banks, is a remote landing platform for the rocket.

The 15,564-pound satellite will spend at least 15 years in orbit.

SpaceX completed the second successful summer launch for Canadian satellite operator Telesat early on Monday. That gap between launches was the longest since late 2017, when a month and a half passed between Falcon 9 launches of Koreasat 5A and a Dragon cargo resupply mission.

According to a statement by Telesat, the satellite will "provide extensive C-band coverage of Asia that reaches from India and Pakistan in the West all the way to Hawaii in the East, enabling direct connectivity from any point in Asia to the Americas".

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