Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Falcon 9 carries communications satellite into orbit

Falcon 9 carries communications satellite into orbit

Space.com notes that the satellite, to be positioned above the equator at 45 degrees west longitude, will initially provide broadcast, internet and other communications services to Brazil. The launch, which took place at 2 AM ET on Thursday, saw SpaceX succeed in placing the EchoStar XIII 22,000 miles up from the surface of the blue planet.

The demands of lofting the 6-ton EchoStar 23 spacecraft left the rocket's first stage without reserve fuel to attempt a powered descent back through the atmosphere and landing.

Even though the Falcon 9 rocket is created to be reusable, it was abandoned during separation and left to plummet back down to earth.

Past ContractsAs a joint venture comprised of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, ULA was the only launcher of military satellites over the last 10 years.

"Successful deployment of @EchoStar XXIII to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit confirmed", the Hawthorne, California-headquartered company headed by Elon Musk, said in a tweet. That vehicle is essentially 3 Falcon 9 boosters strapped together and according to Musk, it will be the most powerful rocket in operation by "a factor of two". The Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 Block 5 should both launch at some point later this year.

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The Falcon 9 used for this morning's mission was noticeably different from what we're used to seeing fly out of the spaceport.

EchoStar was the second launch for SpaceX. The ULA has had a total monopoly on sensitive military launch contracts for the last decade, as launching military satellites requires a higher level of certification than commercial space launches.

The bids had been submitted weeks after a Falcon 9 rocket had exploded on the launch pad, during a test in Sepember.

In the near future, SpaceX would depend on LC39A for all its launches that happen in Florida as the company's pad at the Cape Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is still out of order.

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