SpaceX successfully launched a South Korean communications satellite into orbit Monday afternoon from Kennedy Space Center, including landing the rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean so it could be recovered and reused in future launches.
The launch occurred at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, which was originally built to support NASA’s Apollo program. In 2014, SpaceX signed a 20 year lease to use the launch facility, including extensive upgrades and modifications to be suitable for the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets.
At 3:34 pm ET, the Falcon 9 rocket was launched and deployed the satellite. The rocket then restarted its engines to set off an entry burn to restabilize it as it fell back to earth. Waiting in the Atlantic Ocean was a drone ship, with the poetic name “Of Course I Still Love You,” where the rocket successfully landed at about 3:43 p.m. SpaceX employees can be heard breaking out in cheers on the livestream video when the announcement, “Stage One has landed,” was made.
The rocket’s payload was a Koreasat-5A communications satellite, operated by KT-SAT, South Korea’s sole satellite service provider. This satellite was designed as a replacement for the earlier Koreasat-5 and will expand KT-SAT’s coverage across Asia and the Middle East, including maritime coverage of the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, South China Sea, and East China Sea.
SpaceX confirmed via their Twitter account that the satellite had successfully reached orbit.
Successful deployment of Koreasat-5A to geostationary transfer orbit confirmed.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 30, 2017
Earlier this month, on October 9, SpaceX launched 10 new satellites in a rocket launched from California, and then followed that up two days later with another satellite launched from Kennedy Space Center.
Watch the launch via YouTube:
Photo via @SpaceX on Twitter.
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