Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Economy | By

SpaceX to launch Falcon 9 for the 50th time

SpaceX to launch Falcon 9 for the 50th time

Tonight, the company is tasked with sending up a hefty communications satellite for operator Hispasat, called Hispasat 30W-6. The initial launch date that the company was targeting was 25 February.

About 33 minutes into the flight, the satellite was deployed into geo-stationary orbit, SpaceX said in a webcast. In that duration, the Falcon 9 placed the Spanish satellite in GTO at an altitude of around 37,000 km above the Earth.

This configuration enables Hispasat 30W-6 to contribute to the reduction in the digital divide in North Africa, Latin America or the Iberian Peninsula.

Thanks to the propulsion system, the Spanish communication satellite will follow an orbit at an altitude of 22,000 miles above the equator. Now it's launched its workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9, for the 50th time as it moves to dominate the launch industry.

When it first launched in 2010, the Falcon 9 was just another expendable rocket like the popular Atlas V. However, SpaceX designed the Falcon 9 to be an upgradable launch platform.

SpaceX successfully launched another rocket into orbit from the Space Coast early Tuesday.

The launch had been previously delayed and ran over a week late.

The satellite, built by Space Systems Loral, is equipped with 40 Ku-band transponders, seven Ka beams and 10 C-band transponders. Also, this one marks 2018's fifth launch for SpaceX and four of them were using Falcon 9 rockets. An Indonesian relay station is expected to launch atop a Falcon 9 from Florida sometime in May, with another space station resupply mission expected to go up June 9.

Earlier, there were rumors the company would attempt to launch the rocket's first stage on its drone ship, "Of Course I Still Love You", which had been damaged during the maiden launch of the Falcon Heavy - now the world's most powerful rocket currently in operation.

Following the test phase, the satellite will assume its final orbital position, 30 degrees West, and replace Hispasat 30W-4, in orbit since September 2002.

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