A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered a SES-9 commercial communications satellite into orbit on Friday. The mission was a year behind schedule and had been postponed three times in the weeks leading up to the launch. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the rocket crashed into a droneship while attempting to land back on earth.
Photo by SES/Twitter
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 5 (UPI) -- A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered a SES-9 commercial communications satellite into orbit on Friday.
The Falcon launched from Cape Canaveral on time after a number of postponed attempts, including a last second scrubbed launch on Sunday.
About an hour after the rocket's launch at 6:35 p.m. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed that it had reached its intended altitude.
"Target altitude of 40,600 km achieved," he wrote on Twitter. "Thanks SES Satellites for riding on Falcon 9! Looking forward to future missions."
SpaceX had been attempting to launch the 12,000-pound satellite owned by Luxembourg company SES for more than a year, before Friday's successful mission. Now in orbit, the satellite will be used to provide high-definition television and high-speed internet to homes in the Asian-Pacific region.
"SES-9 is an important building block in our strategy to grow in dynamic regions and four prime sectors - video, enterprise, mobility and government," SES chief technology officer Martin Halliwell told the BBC. "Co-located with SES-7, the new satellite will reach 22 million TV homes and is designed to deliver high-performing connectivity to homes, enterprises and institutions across Asia."
While both parties were pleased with the success of the mission, SpaceX once again failed to land the rocket once it returned to earth.
"Rocket landed hard on the droneship," Musk tweeted. "Didn't expect this one to work (v hot reentry), but next flight has a good chance."
SpaceX is expected to shift focus to work on its Dragon astronaut capsule, possibly sending cargo to the International Space Station in April.