SpaceX successfully launched a 5-metric-ton Intelsat communications satellite to orbit on Thursday, August 3.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellite blasted off from the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1 a.m. (10 p.m. Wednesday).
The mission marked the sixth flight for the first-stage Falcon 9 booster, which previously launched Crew-5, GPS III-6, Inmarsat I6-F2, CRS-28, and one Starlink mission.
As usual, SpaceX used multiple cameras to live stream the key parts of the flight, including the launch, booster landing, and satellite deployment.
SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket lit up the Florida sky as it left the launchpad in the early hours of Thursday local time.
Around eight minutes after launch, and having done its job, the first stage descended to a droneship waiting in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Florida. The clip below shows the vehicle’s landing legs deploying just prior to reaching the droneship. The booster performed a perfect touchdown, enabling it to be used for another mission once it’s been cleaned up and refurbished. The landing marked SpaceX’s 213th landing of an orbital-class rocket.
Around 33 minutes after launch, the satellite successfully deployed.
SpaceX also shared a set of dramatic images showing the start of the mission.
The launch of the Maxar-built Galaxy 37/Horizons-4 satellite will provide North American capacity for television media and telecommunication network customers, Intelsat said.
The original plan was to deploy the satellite using an Arianespace Ariane 6 rocket, but continuing delays in the rocket’s production prompted Intelsat to switch to SpaceX to get the job done.