American aerospace manufacturer SpaceX successfully launched a Koreasat-5A communications satellite on a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 30.
Successful Launch And Landing
The first stage of the rocket saw it landing on a SpaceX drone ship, located a few hundred miles off the Florida coast in the Atlantic Ocean. The second stage of the rocket powered the satellite to a distant geostationary orbit and subsequently deployed it.
Incidentally, the event became the 19th rocket landing that the company has successfully completed during orbital launches, which are becoming a part of SpaceX’s plan to create totally reusable space vehicles and rockets. CEO Elon Musk has said that such a development will cut down the cost of spaceflight.
SpaceX has re-flown three of its landed Falcon 9 first stages, in addition to a Dragon cargo capsule. Moreover, the company will use a pre-flown Dragon for its next resupply mission to the International Space Station.
Koreasat-5A Communications Satellite
The Koreasat-5A, which weighs 7,700 lb and has four extended Ku-band steerable transponders (54 MHz each), will be used by South Korean company KT SAT to offer commercial direct-to-home broadcast and broadband services to customers in the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and other nations in North Asia by the end of 2017.
The Koreasat-5A will replace the Koreasat-5 that was launched in 2006, and the new satellite’s coverage will expand across Asia and the Middle East. It will also provide maritime coverage of the East China Sea, South China Sea, Indian Ocean, and the Persian Gulf. KT SAT wants to become one of the forerunning satellite operators in the extremely competitive Asian market.
The company has so far launched 16 rockets this year, which doubles the count from last year — not to mention there are still two months remaining in 2017. SpaceX has launched flying Falcons, from both the East and West Coast, nearly every month this year — which is something of a record. The Falcon 9, which has successfully completed 41 missions, first flew in June 2010, and the recent launch marks its 44th flight.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is a partially reusable two-stage rocket. The first stage is designed to make a controlled landing after launching the rocket’s payload into orbit. The two stages can be reflown on subsequent launches after landing. The rocket that launched Koreasat-5A is a Falcon 9 v1.2, also called Falcon 9 “Full Thrust” model.