SpaceX launches - and lands - third rocket in three weeks

31 October, 2017, 00:16 | Author: Gregory Stephens

Just minutes after launch, the rocket separated and the tall portion, called the first stage, fired its engines and maneuvered its grid fins to guide itself back to an upright landing on an ocean platform.

A few seconds before the booster stage touched down, the Falcon 9's second stage completed the first of two planned burns, putting the 4.1-ton Koreasat-5A communications station into the planned preliminary orbit.

The lower part of the Falcon 9 first stage seems to have caught fire during the landing.

Koreasat 5A's on-board engine will conduct multiple burns to circularize its orbit around 22,300 miles (35,800 kilometers) over the equator a few weeks after launch. The newly launched satellite will take over for Koreasat-5, which launched in 2006.

By bringing rockets back to Earth after flying payloads to space, engineers on the ground can refurbish those launchers and use them for multiple missions, instead of the usual "one and done" philosophy that has dominated rocketry until now.


This satellite will replace the Koreasat-5 to expand coverage for the company across Asia and the Middle East.

SpaceX is slowly walking the path of reusing spacecrafts and rockets that it had etched for itself during the early years of its establishment with the company confirming that it will be reusing a preflown Dragon capsule for its next cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The satellite's solar panels will generate about 6.5 kilowatts of power for its Ku-band communications transmitters and receivers.

SpaceX's landing record now stands at 19 successes in 24 attempts, 12 on droneships and 7 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (3,700 kilograms) Koreasat-5A to provide direct-to-home broadcast and broadband services to customers in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, among other nations. A backup window is scheduled for Tuesday with the launch window set for the same time.

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