Tuesday, 16 May 2017

SpaceX launches Inmarsat communications satellite atop Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a huge commercial communications satellite, blasted off into the beautiful blue sky on Monday night.
The Inmarsat-5 F4 satellite, built by Boeing, lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 7.21 PM (2321 GMT) Monday, May 15.
"We've had confirmation of spacecraft separation," said a SpaceX commentator about 30 minutes after launch, signaling that the satellite was successfully deployed to a distant, geostationary orbit.
"We've had good orbits, good separation, all you can ask for today."
The satellite is Inmarsat’s four-satellite Global Xpress constellation, aimed at delivering high-speed mobile broadband data to customers, including commercial aircraft and ships and the US military.
Monday's launch also marked the first time SpaceX had launched a satellite for the London-based mobile broadband company.
The payload weighed some 6,100 kilograms and the force needed to propel it to orbit would not leave enough fuel for the rocket to maneuver back to Earth. It was the heaviest load lofted by a Falcon 9 yet.
"Inmarsat, the only operator of a global Ka-band network, created the GX platform to enable communities across the world to benefit from the emerging digital society," said a company statement.
SpaceX, which is headed by Elon Musk, did not attempt to bring the first stage of the rocket back to Earth for an upright landing following the launch.
The fourth Inmarsat-5 satellite was the heaviest load lofted by a Falcon 9 yet.

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