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Monday, March 2, 2015

SpaceX Successfully Launched Two Satellites

As reported by Forbes: At 10:50pm on Sunday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. On board were satellites for two different customers, Eutelsat and Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS).

The two companies jointly financed both the satellite construction and launch. The satellites themselves were made by Boeing. They’re unique in that rather than conventional rocket thrusters, they’re powered by electric propulsion. That reduced the weight of the satellites to the point where both could be launched at once. The downside, though, is that it will take the satellites months to reach geostationary orbit.

Eutelsat’s satellite will join its network of broadcast satellite, providing the company coverage to its customers from Alaska and Canada to South America. ABS’s satellite will be used to provide customers on several continents with TV signals, internet backhaul, and cellular service.

SpaceX has been experimenting with making the first stage of its rockets reusable, which the company has said could save millions in launch costs. To that end, it’s been attempting to land the first stage of its rockets after takeoff. No landing attempt was made today, however.

“Next landing attempt will be 3rd launch from now,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted. “Tonight’s flight and following one will not have enough propellant.”

Musk indicated in a separate tweet, however, that changes will be made to the next generation of Falcon 9 rockets to improve the prospects of reusability.

SpaceX’s next launch is scheduled for March 21, when a Falcon 9 will deliver a communications satellite into orbit for Thales Alenia Space and the government of Turkmenistan.