SpaceX Aces Telstar 18V Satellite Launch, Lands Falcon 9 Booster At Sea

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SpaceX will use one of its newest Falcon 9 rockets, the Block 5, for the launch.

The Telstar 18 Vantage is a hefty 15,564 pounds (7,060 kilograms), making it just slightly lighter than the Telstar 19V that was launched back in July, which was the heaviest communications satellite ever launched. In case of delays, the launch event can even stretch for four hours.

At 15,564 lbs, the satellite is the second heaviest communications satellite ever launched and is created to last about 15 years in orbit, Space.com reports.

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Launch was delayed due to rain and heavy clouds, with liftoff finally taking place at 12:45 a.m. EDT. Built by SSL, a Maxar Technologies Company, Telstar 18 VANTAGE is the third HTS in Telesat's global fleet with capacity that delivers a new level of performance and value for satellite broadband requirements on land, at sea and in the air.

The rocket's second stage at that point achieved circle around 35 minutes after liftoff.

Today's launch marked the 16th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket since the beginning of 2018 and the fourth time a "Block 5" booster has soared to the skies, notes Ars Technica.

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"We don't have a view but we hear recovery calling out, 'Falcon 9 has landed, '" Falcon 9 principal integration engineer John Insprucker said during the livestream.

The satellite, which is part of a partnership between Canadian company Telesat and a Hong Kong broadcast company, is expected to improve communication services over the Pacific Ocean - from Hawaii to India and Pakistan.

The first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 later completed a landing on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship that is stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, the company confirmed.

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But Torrance-based SpaceX did not attempt Monday to recover the payload fairing, the protective nose cone that surrounds a satellite during launch.

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