On Wednesday at 10:29 am ET, SpaceX successfully launched its sixth rocket of the year into space. It will attempt to land the first stage of its famed Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic for the fourth time in a row as it boosts not one but two satellites into orbit.
The first stage has successfully separated from the second stage and is heading back towards the drone ship, a couple hundred miles off the coast.
The second stage will continue to carry the two satellites out to geostationary transfer orbit more than 22,000 miles above the equator. As the earth rotates, these satellites will stay above same regions of the planets. Eutelsat 117 West B will provide coverage to Latin America while ABS will provide services to portions of Asia and Africa.
The rocket launched out of SpaceX’s launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida, travelling twice as fast as a speeding bullet. It is carrying Paris-based Eutelsat’s 117 WestB and Bermuda-based Asian Broadcast Satellite’s (ABS) 2A satellites into orbit.
The Eutelsat satellite will provide Latin America with video, data, government, and mobile services and the ABS satellite will enable “direct-to-home” mobile, TV, and maritime signal across almost all of the Eastern world, Inverse reports.
These satellites will communicate with electromagnetic waves, such as light and radio waves. Eutelsat will communicate in the Ku band portion, which is at the 12-18 gigahertz portion of the microwave spectrum. For comparison, your home microwave operates at 2.45 gigahertz.
Reflight- ready to fly same recovered vehicle again. Refly but not technically reusable. Ultaimte finish line is to land- if it lands on drone ship taken on service of drone ship toport. Loaded on truck and taken back to launch site to be reflown. Goal return to launch site refuel retest and go back up to space. Retesting is the hard part. Engines not jostled in flight or deformed from extreme heat conditions.
This launch follows a rapid and, so far, wildly successful string of launches and landings for the private spaceflight company.
SpaceX landed its first rocket on land in December. In April, for the first time ever, SpaceX managed to land at sea. The company has only been getting better at sea landings, nailing one on May 6 and another on May 27.
If SpaceX successfully lands this rocket, it will be the fifth rocket the company landed and retrieved. According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, one of these retrieved rockets could launch again as early as September. Reusing these rockets could cut the cost of spaceflight by as much as 30%, SpaceX says.
After Wednesday, the company might not launch again until mid-July when a Falcon 9 will carry the 11th Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.
The weather was good for the launch, allowing for an on-time launch.
As usual, SpaceX is hosting a live webcast of the launch:
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