Economy

SpaceX Launches Spanish Communication Satellite Into Space

SpaceX Launches Spanish Communication Satellite Into Space

The mission on Tuesday is to deliver the Hispasat 30W-6 communications satellite to a geostationary orbit.

The company now aims to up the ante and fire off significantly more than just 20 rockets this year, and the Tuesday launch is the fourth of 2018 already. NASA's GOES-S satellite is scheduled to launch later on Tuesday that will give SpaceX a 17-hour window to accomplish the task of launching a rocket and offloading the payload to its altitude. In that time, the Falcon placed the satellite in GTO at an altitude of around 37,500 km above Earth.

Musk tweeted about the mission earlier, saying the satellite is the largest SpaceX has ever transported, at 6 metric tons and "almost the size of a city bus".

"Hispasat 30W-6 will contribute to the reduction of the digital divide in Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, promote the distribution of audiovisual content in Latin America and provide connectivity in high-speed rail or maritime services in the Caribbean and Mediterranean", the company said. The CRS-1 mission was a partial failure because one of the rocket's engines lost power and prevented a secondary satellite payload from reaching orbit. The 50th Falcon 9 launch was earlier targeted for February 25.

These "recycled" rocket launches are part of SpaceX's goal to lower the cost of spaceflight and re-use expensive rocket parts instead of tossing them in the ocean after each launch.

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The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 12:33 a.m. from Launch Complex 40.

Flash forward to today: SpaceX has landed Falcon boosters 23 times and re-flown boosters nine times, including two on last month's inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy, the world's new most powerful rocket.

The telecom payload will replace an older, ageing satellite launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral in 2002.

Since its first flight, the Falcon 9 has grown more than 50 feet and gained some 600,000 lbs.


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