Elon Musk’s SpaceX has successfully launched a commercial communications satellite aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. This was third launch of the California-based company in just 12 days.
The IntelSat 35e Broadband Communications Satellite blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida at 7:38 PM (local time) on Wednesday. The Falcon 9 rocket successfully injected the satellite to a geostationary transfer orbit, Xinhua news agency reported.
It took the Falcon 9 rocket 32 minutes to deploy the IntelSat 35e satellite. SpaceX made attempts to launch the satellite on Sunday and Monday but stopped twice in the final seconds of countdown.
The IntelSat 35e has a launch mass of more than 6.7 tonnes, making it the heaviest satellite ever been sent to orbit by the Falcon 9 rocket. The company said that SpaceX did not tried to recover the rocket’s first stage after the launch this time.
The IntelSat 35e is the fourth of the next-generation high throughput satellites for Luxembourg-based Intelsat. The satellite aims at providing digital services in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.
The SpaceX launched two missions within about 50 hours and the latest one comes just 10 days after its first-ever "doubleheader" weekend. In the first launch, BulgariaSat-1, the first geostationary communications satellite in Bulgaria's history was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on June 23.
In the second launch, 10 satellites were launched to low-Earth orbit for the US satellite phone company Iridium from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California two days later.
Also, the IntelSat 35e is the 10th of SpaceX’s more than 20 launches planned this year. The company completed eight successful launches.