Watch SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Launch a Massive Satellite into High Earth Orbit
The seven-ton satellite will be lobbed into space sometime after 7:20pm Eastern Daylight Time.
Go big or go home. On Monday, Elon Musk's SpaceX performed one of its more ambitious rocket launches yet: Using a Falcon 9 rocket to launch a 13,500-pound telecommunications satellite into an orbit roughly 22,000 miles above the planet's surface.
The mission was SpaceX's sixth rocket launch of 2017, and marks the company's first launch for British telecom provider Inmarsat. The Inmarsat-5 satellite being lofted up by the rocket is being placed in a geostationary transfer orbit; this will ultimately loft it to a final geostationary orbit above the Earth's equator, at which point it will match the planet's speed, enabling the bird to effectively remain in place in reference to the surface.
Unlike many of the private space launch company's previous blast-offs, however, the company did not attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket. Due to the size of the payload and the altitude it's headed towards, the rocket needed every erg of energy it can muster—which means it wouldn't have enough fuel left to return to Earth for a controlled landing.