American aerospace manufacturer SpaceX launched a Koreasat-5A communication satellite on a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 30.
The first stage of the rocket landed the rocket on a SpaceX drone ship, a few hundred miles off the Florida coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Although the rocket was in flames, the fire went out eventually. The second stage of the rocket powered the satellite to a distant geostationary orbit and subsequently deployed it.
This was SpaceX’s 19th successful rocket landing during orbital launches. SpaceX plans to create totally reusable space vehicles and rockets. This has been the vision of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to 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.
The Koreasat-5A weighed 7,700 lb with four extended Ku-band steerable transponders. This will be used by South Korean company KT SAT to offer direct-to-home broadcast and broadband services to customers in South Korea, Japan, Philippines and other North Asia nations by Dec 2017. The new Koreasat-5A will replace the Koreasat-5 which was launched in 2006. Their primary focus is to become one of the forerunning satellite operators in the Asian market by expanding their coverage across Asia and the Middle East.
With two more months remaining, SpaceX has already launched 16 rockets this year. SpaceX has launched flying Falcons, from both the East and West Coast, nearly every month this year which is a record in itself. The Falcon 9 which first flew in June 2010 has successfully completed 41 missions and is ready to mark its 44th flight.