An upgraded version of SpaceX‘s Falcon 9 rocket has taken off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday morning.
The rocket was carrying the Telstar 19 Vantage communications satellite into space for Canadian satellite communications company Telesat.
Successful Launch Of Two-Stage Falcon 9 Block 5 Rocket
The American aerospace company successfully launched the new Falcon 9 rocket, called “Block 5,” at 10:50 p.m. Pacific Time or 1:50 a.m. Eastern Time from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The rocket managed to send the Telesat’s Telstar 19 Vantage or 19V telecommunications satellite into Geostationary Transfer Orbit or GTO, which is around 22,250 miles above the Earth.
Around 32 minutes after liftoff, the satellite was deployed, and the rocket’s first stage returned to Earth and landed on SpaceX’s autonomous spaceport drone ship called “Of Course I Still Love You,” which was located hundreds of miles away from Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Block 5 is considered to be the company’s most powerful, most reliable, most reusable, and final version of the Flacon 9 rocket. It was designed to increase the speed of production and efficiency of reusability. It is also expected to be used by NASA to send astronauts into the International Space Station for the first time in 2019.
Purpose Of Telstar 19 Vantage Satellite
The Telstar 19 Vantage is a communications satellite in the Telstar series of Telesat. It is the first of two satellites built by California-based company SSL. Back in November 2015, the Canadian communications satellite company signed a contract with SSL for the construction of the satellite, which is based on the SSL-1300 bus.
The satellite is expected to be used by Hughes Network Systems LLC to expand broadband connectivity for customers across the Americas, including Brazil, the Andean region, and the North Atlantic Ocean.
The satellite weighs about 15,600 pounds or 7,076 kilograms and is now considered to be the heaviest commercial communications satellite ever launched to date. It is equipped with two high throughput payloads, one in Ku-band and the other in Ka-band.
SpaceX’s Next Missions
SpaceX is expecting to launch another Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on July 25. The rocket will send 10 communications satellites into orbit for Iridium Communications Inc.
Later this year, the aerospace company also plans to launch two communications satellites for Telkom Indonesia and Telesat. It will launch the Merah Putih and the Telstar 18 Vantage or 18V communications satellites in August.