SpaceX engineers have successfully test-fired the Falcon 9’s engines in preparation for Monday’s Koreasat 5A launch. Following the successful test, the Falcon 9 was rolled back to a hangar that was formerly used by NASA for their Saturn 5 moon rockets.
At 16:00 GMT (12:00 pm EDT), the nine Merlin 1D engines that power the Falcon 9’s first stage booster throttled up. With the launch vehicle securely restrained, engineers completed data reviews and systems checks. Once safely back in the SpaceX hangar, the Falcon 9 will receive the Koreasat 5A payload. Previously, SpaceX had conducted hot fire tests with the payload already fixed to save time. However, following an explosion on a launch pad that destroyed an Israeli communications satellite, the launch provider halted that practice.
Monday’s launch will take place at pad 39A at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The launch window will commence at 19:34 GMT (15:34 EDT) and remain open until 21:58 GMT (17:58 EDT). Once launched, the second stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle will place the Korean communications satellite into a geostationary orbit 35,800 kilometers (22,300 miles) over the equator.
The Koreasat 5A satellite was built by French aerospace contractor Thales Alenia Space for South Korean communications provider KTSAT. The satellite weighs about 3,700 kilograms at launch and is equipped with 36 Ku-band transponders. This is the fourth communications satellite Thales Alenia Space have built for KTSAT and the 35th built by the company being launched this year.
Once operational, the Koreasat 5A satellite will provide internet access and television broadcasting services to Korea, Japan, Guam, the Philippines and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Additionally, the satellite will provide support for Maritime communications services in the Middle East and East Africa.
Monday’s launch will be the 16th Falcon 9 launch of the year and the 44th since the launch vehicle’s service began.
Image Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Imag[IN]