SpaceX finally launches communications satellite

June 20 (UPI) -- After back-to-back mission scrubs, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Station Florida Thursday afternoon, carrying an Astra 1P/SES-24 satellite to geostationary orbit.

The SES-24 is a communications satellite for a partnership between companies SES and Astra, European communication organizations.


Unlike the thousands of low-Earth orbit satellites being launched routinely by SpaceX in recent years, the Astra is geostationary, meaning it will sit in place while in orbit about 23,000 miles above the Earth.

Geostationary satellites work by covering a designated, targeted section of the Earth with a signal, rather than moving and providing coverage to a broad and constantly changing region. Communications companies typically use several geostationary satellites to cover the entire Earth through a process known as 'triangulation.'

This satellite was developed by Thales Alenia Space, and will provide satellite TV service for Germany, France and Spain. According to the SES website, Astra satellites have been providing TV and radio for Germany since 1988.


This was the ninth time the SpaceX booster rocket was used, and after the first stage separated from the rocket, it landed on the droneship called Just Read the Instructions, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

This was the 250th first-stage landing for an orbital flight, according to SpaceX.

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