Reused SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Satellite into Orbit-And Somehow Survives, Again

02 February, 2018, 01:32 | Author: Lucy Floyd
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GovSat-1 is a joint mission involving the government of Luxembourg and commercial satellite operator SES, which is based in the small European country. It will support communications within Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and enable operations over the Atlantic and Indian oceans, as well as over the Mediterranean and Baltic seas. Essentially this orbit position means that if delivered properly to orbit, the satellite SpaceX launches will sit in the same spot above the Earth continuously.

Firing nine Merlin engines with up to 1.7 million pounds of thrust, a Falcon 9 rocket that had launched a mission a year ago set sail for the second time at 4:25 p.m., lifting off from Launch Complex 40.

The first of the Falcon 9 rocket had already flown in a year ago in May carrying the National Reconnaissance Office's classified NROL-76 payload.

SpaceX did fire the rocket's retro thrusters, as it does during a controlled landing when it tries to sit the booster upright either on land or on one of its ocean-borne ships, but it did so very high in the air, with the sole intent of making sure the rocket would avoid colliding at high impact with its mobile landing pads.

In what is now an unusual circumstance for SpaceX, Wednesday's launch of GovSat-1 did not try to land the first stage.

This is the sixth time SpaceX have reused one of its boosters.

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The satellite is the first developed through a public-private partnership between the Government of Luxembourg and the satellite company SES, said a SpaceX release. But SpaceX scrubbed the launch stating that it wants to replace the sensor of the Falcon 9 second stage. The powerful rocket will carry Musk's 2008 midnight-cherry-red Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" as it makes its way towards Mars orbit.

'We will try to tow it back to shore, ' Musk, who is also CEO of electric vehicle firm Tesla, added. It made a decision to land the Falcon 9 firsts stage over the open ocean off the Florida coast with high thrust. The cost of the satellite is $279 million, and it weighs around 4.5 tons.

The Falcon Heavy megarocket packs three times the thrust of the Falcon 9.

Citing new security threats, a senior North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official told Reuters in March that the alliance planned to spend more than $3 billion on defense technology, a third of which would go toward satellite communications. Rather it wanted to perform a unique landing test of the rocket.

The Falcon 9 rocket was previously launched in May 2017 to lift a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

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