News ID: 192872
Published: 0907 GMT May 16, 2017

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carries communications satellite into orbit

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carries communications satellite into orbit

SpaceX's Falcon 9 launched an Inmarsat communications satellite, its largest payload, into orbit from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX won't attempt to land its two-stage rocket back on Earth, UPI reported.

The payload is too heavy. The Falcon 9 rocket will use up most of its fuel carrying the satellite into a relatively high orbit, which means there won't be enough to attempt a controlled landing.

This will be first time SpaceX has purposefully sacrificed a rocket for a transport mission. SpaceX has lost several Falcon 9 rockets in failed landing attempts.

In the future, such a heavy payload will likely be carried by the company's Falcon Heavy rocket, currently in production. The model won't be flight-worthy for some time, however.

The Inmarsat 5 F4 communications satellite will boost the company's mobile broadband coverage as well as the scope of Global Xpress, Inmarsat's in-flight wifi network used by commercial airlines.

Michele Franci, Inmarsat's chief technology officer, said, "It's not designed as a local augmentation, but it nevertheless does bring significant additional capacity, and thanks to the fact that we have steerable beams on it, we can create this effect of concentrating capacity in particular areas of the world where needed.”

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