SpaceX launches record-setting satellite with a block 5 Falcon 9

SpaceX launches record-setting satellite with a block 5 Falcon 9

To get there, the 229-foot-tall Falcon 9 blasted off at 1:50 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) and quickly climbed away from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop 1.7 million pounds of thrust. From this point on, SpaceX will only launch the final "Block 5" version of the Falcon 9 rocket, optimized both for power and reusability.

A Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch 10 telecom satellites into low Earth orbit for Iridium from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Wednesday.

SpaceX launched just its second "block 5" Falcon 9 rocket in the darkness from Florida early Sunday local time, and it was loaded with the heaviest commercial communications satellite ever built. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said that Block 5 first stages are created to fly at least 10 times with just inspections between landing and liftoff, and 100 times or more with some refurbishment involved.

The rocket's first stage landed on the sea-faring droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" approximately eight and a half minutes later.

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The Block 5 is the newest, most powerful and most reusable version of the Falcon 9.

It was the 26th successful Falcon 9 booster recovery, 14 on drone ships and 12 on land at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After a second burn about 18 minutes later, the Telstar 19 VANTAGE satellite was released as planned into its geostationary transfer orbit. SpaceX launched the first block 5 rocket in May and will launch a third from California next week.

Telstar 19V is the latest in a new generation of satellites operated by Canada's Telesat, and will be used by Hughes Network Systems to expand broadband satellite services in Brazil and other South American countries. The satellite has a mix of traditional Ku-band wide beams and Ku- and Ka-band spot beams for connectivity services including internet for consumers, stores, offices and mobile platforms like boats and airplanes. The spotlight returns to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 2, when yet another Falcon 9 is due to launch the Merah Putih satellite for Telkom Indonesia.

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