SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 rocket into space on Monday, and this time, it had some important cargo aboard. The rocket was carrying a telecommunications satellite, and it lifted off from the Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral early this morning.
SpaceX launches commercial satellite
Fox News reports that SpaceX’s rocket was carrying the AsiaSat 8. That launch had been scheduled for 1:25 a.m. Easter, although it was pushed back to 4 a.m. due to problems with the Falcon 9’s first rocket stage. The satellite that’s on board will eventually orbit Earth approximately 22,300 miles overheard. The satellite will then put eyes on China, giving customers there a number of telecom services for the next 15 years or so.
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The satellite belongs to Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Ltd., also known as AsiaSat, which is based in Hong Kong. The company said the aircraft is the most powerful satellite of its fleet, carrying a payload power of approximately 8,500 watts.
Unlike previous SpaceX launches, this time around, the company isn’t testing the reusability of its rockets. That’s usually a secondary objective to the company’s flights. On the previous flight, the company was successful in bringing down the first rocket stage for a soft landing in the ocean. The company added landing legs to the rocket before that test, which was the third. The landing legs appeared to correct the problems with bringing the rocket stage back in so that it can be reused.
SpaceX to build commercial launch site
Also this week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced that the state is granting SpaceX more than $15 million to build its commercial orbital launch site in Brownsville. He said the Texas Enterprise Fund will give $2.3 million, while the Spaceport Trust Fund will contribute $13 million, according to a press release on the governor’s website. The new launch facility will bring 300 jobs and an $85 million capital investment to the Brownsville area.
SpaceX has been discussing the project with the State of Texas since 2011. Founder Elon Musk met with the governor and has given letters in support of the company’s efforts to get clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to build the site. Last month the agency granted permission to build the site.