A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched the Telstar 18 Vantage communication satellite into a runway in the early Monday morning (September 10) before returning for a spectacular drone landing in the Atlantic.
After a 77-minute weather delay, the rocket was lifted at 12.45 pm EDT (0445 GMT) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and the Telstar 18 Vantage (18V) communications satellite, also known as Apstar 5C, was deployed in the runway 32 minutes later. Approximately 8 minutes after the launch, the rocket launcher struck a landing on board the East Coast spacecraft called "Of Course I Still Love You."
"We have no visibility, but we need to call for recovery," Falcon 9 has landed, "" John Insprucker, Falcon 9 principal integration engineer, said during SpaceX & # 39; s launch webcast today. [See the Evolution of SpaceX’s Rockets in Pictures]
SpaceX did not try to repair the charging bracket this morning – the protective nose cone around a satellite during the launch. The company has tried to do this during several previous launches using a just-equipped boat called Mr. Steven, but until now had no luck.
This mission used the new "Block 5" variant of the Falcon 9 rocket and was the fourth to use this updated model. While the previous Telstar mission was launched on a re-used Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket in July, the Telstar launched 18V satellite on a brand new missile.
Telstar 18V is the third high-throughput satellite launched in a constellation by a Canadian company called Telesat, and will be the first satellite in this fleet to provide coverage across the Asia-Pacific region. Floating above the earth in a geostationary orbit, Telstar will offer 18V constant broadband communications services to China, Mongolia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Telesat officials said in a statement.
The new satellite "will replace and expand the capabilities of Telesat & # 39; s Telstar 18 satellite", launched in 2004, SpaceX officials said in their statement. His position on the 138th meridian east will enable coverage in Asia and Hawaii, "enabling direct connectivity between any point in Asia and North and South America." Built by California-based aerospace company SSL, the satellite is designed to stay in orbit around the earth for about 15 years.
Telstar 18V is also the second heaviest communication satellite ever launched, with a weight of 15,564 lbs. (7.060 kilograms), according to Spaceflight Now. Telstar 19V, launched in July, is the heaviest communications satellite; it weighs only 34 lbs. (15 kg) more than Telstar 18V.
Today's launch marked the 15th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket in 2018 and the 18th successful drone on the drone since SpaceX landed its first rocket launcher in 2016. The next SpaceX mission is scheduled for October 7 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with the SAOCOM 1A Earth Observation Satellite in Argentina.