SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 9 Rocket with Telstar Communications Satellite

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SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 9 Rocket with Telstar Communications Satellite

The launch was the 16th of the year for SpaceX, but also the first for the company in more than a month, since the August 7 launch of the Merah Putih satellite for Telkom Indonesia.

After a 77-minute weather delay, the rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 12:45 a.m. EDT (0445 GMT) and deployed the Telstar 18 Vantage (18V) communications satellite, also known as Apstar 5C, into orbit 32 minutes later.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Telstar 18V communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on September 10, 2018.

While the video feed from the first stage was cut off just as the booster landed, SpaceX confirmed on Twitter that the "Block 5" safely made it to the drone ship.

According to Space X: "Telstar 18 VANTAGE is the third high throughput satellite (HTS) in Telesat's global fleet and the first with coverage over the Asia Pacific region".

SpaceX's upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 will help the company achieve its goal of vastly cheaper spaceflight, in which it aims to fly the boosters up to 10 times with little maintenance, and 100 with refurbishment. The first stage made a successful landing on the company's "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. Telstar 18 VANTAGE is expected to enter commercial service this fall after it has completed orbit raising and on-orbit testing.

The new satellite "will replace and expand on the capabilities of Telesat's Telstar 18 satellite", which launched in 2004, SpaceX officials said in their statement. The record was set by its companion Telstar 19 satellite, which weighed in at 15,600 pounds and which launched in late July aboard a different SpaceX Falcon 9.

This next launch will mark another turning point for SpaceX, as it will involve flying an Argentinian satellite from California.

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