SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Puts In High Tech Communications Satellite In Space; Here's What It Can Do [VIDEO]By Khaleb Skye A. Cruz, UniversityHerald Reporter
On Monday, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from launch pad 39A at NASA Kennedy Space Center with Inmarsat satellite that will complete the latter's fifth-generation broadband network. This has been Falcon 9's second flight in two weeks.
According to Space, Inmarsat planned to put its $250 million F4 satellite into orbit last year. However, the flight was delayed after a SpaceX Falcon 9 exploded on the launch pad while being fueled for a preflight engine test. The 23-story rocket has successfully flown six times since the accident.
SpaceX is famous for introducing reusable rockets in the space exploration scene. So far, 10 Falcon 9 first stage boosters have returned intact after launching. Meanwhile, the same company owned by Elon Musk hopes to launch another second-hand rocket next month for Bulgaria Sat. For the record, this was the first time Inmarsat flew with SpaceX and probably not the last.
Apparently, this mission is only the sixth in 20 projects Falcon 9 is set to take part in. The F4 communications satellite weighs about 13,400 lbs. (6,100 kg). It holds the record for the heaviest spacecraft to be pushed by a Falcon booster into a "geostationary" transfer orbit some 22,300 miles (35, 800 km) above the Earth's surface. The satellite separated from the second stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 roughly 32 minutes after liftoff.
Dubbed as the "End of the Beginning", the Inmarsat-5 F4 satellite completes the company's four-member broadband network worth $1.6 billion. That broadband network is named as the Global Xpress. Per Florida Today, it will provide worldwide mobile communications for airlines, ships, and government agencies.
The package was built by Boeing and is set to deliver a downlink speed of up to 50 megabits per second. The uplink, on the other hand, reaches up to 5 megabits per second. To better illustrate, this is 100 times faster than Inmarsat's previous system. Customers for the in-flight Wi-Fi services from Global Xpress include Lufthansa Group and Austrian Airlines.
The Boeing-built satellite makes Inmarsat's fleet big with 13 spacecraft. A 14th launch is set to happen this June. Global Xpress's final location is yet to be determined but is believed to move from Europe to India. Well, airline passengers could now watch a video on their phones or tablets while military services could enhance their high-bandwidth communication devices.