Falcon 9 launch carries satellite to orbit

This time, no attempt to land rocket at sea.
By Laurel Kornfeld | Apr 27, 2015
For the second time in only 13 days, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket, transporting a communications satellite for the nation of Turkmenistan.

The occasion marked the company's fifth Falcon 9 launch of 2015 and 18th launch since the rocket was first unveiled in 2010.

In all of 2014, SpaceX conducted six Falcon 9 launches.

Monday's scheduled launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force station was delayed by close to 50 minutes because the sky was cloudy.

The 224-foot rocket finally took off from Launch Complex 40 at 7:03 PM EDT with 1.3 million pounds of thrust, carrying the almost 10,000-pound satellite.

At 7:45, SpaceX confirmed the satellite had successfully entered orbit.

SpaceX will not attempt to land this rocket at sea as was done in its most recent mission, to further the company's goal of producing reusable rockets.

A landing attempt is not feasible in this case because the Falcon 9 is taking the satellite to a very high orbit 22,300 miles above Earth's equator. This means more fuel is being used to reach the high orbit, resulting in insufficient spare fuel necessary for a landing attempt.

Officially namedTurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat, the Spacebus 4000 telecommunications satellite was built by the French companyThales Alenia Space. The number 52 in its name refers to its targeted orbit at a longitude of 52 degrees east.

SpaceX refers to the project as the "Thales mission."

It is Turkmenistan's first ever satellite and will transmit TV, phone, and Internet to Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, reaching as many as 1.2 billion people.

In a deal between Turkmenistan and Monaco, the satellite, expected to be operational for 15 years, will be placed into a position controlled by Monaco. It will be mostly operated by Turkmenistan, with the exception of twelve ofKu-band transponders, which will be run by Space Systems International, the company that provides Monaco with satellite service.




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