SpaceX has successfully deployed the Koreasat 5A satellite into orbit following a flawless launch of their Falcon 9 vehicle. The launch brings SpaceX’s tally up to 16 for 2017, one more than they had managed in both 2015 and 2016 combined.
Today’s launch blasted off at 15:34 EDT (19:34 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch itself had a perfect blue backdrop thanks to a perfect cloudless Florida afternoon. Following stage-one engine cutoff, the Falcon 9 booster coasted back down to earth. 8.5 minutes after it launched, the first-stage booster landing neatly on the SpaceX Of Course I Still Love You drone ship.
This latest Falcon 9 launch utilised a new vehicle unlike, the EchoStar 105/SES-11 mission earlier this month that made use of a flight-proven Falcon 9. The launch deployed the 3,700-kilogram Koreasat 5A satellite, a communications satellite equipped with 36 Ku-band transponders (54 MHz each) built by Thales Alenia Space.
“As a replacement for Koreasat-5, Koreasat-5A will expand KT Sat’s coverage across Asia and the Middle East,” explained the SpaceX mission overview. “Unlike other satellites in the Koreasat fleet, Koreasat-5A will provide maritime coverage of the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, South China Sea and East China Sea.”
36 minutes after launch, the second stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle successfully deployed the Koreasat 5A. After being deployed, the satellite entered an elliptical transfer orbit. Once complete, the satellite will drift into its operating position at 113° East, 35,800 kilometers (22,300 miles) over the equator.
Images Credit: SpaceX