SpaceX finally launches Hispasat 30W

Jon Howard
March 7, 2018

About 33 minutes after launch, the rocket's upper stage deployed the satellite, officially called Hispasat 30W-6, into an orbit some 22,300 miles above Earth.

The company now aims to up the ante and fire off significantly more than just 20 rockets this year, and the Tuesday launch is the fourth of 2018 already. This time the payload is a communication satellite, weighing 60 ton.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the payload - Hispasat 30W-6 - would "be the largest geostationary satellite we've ever flown". It broadcasts more than 1,250 radio and television channels through its satellites to more than 30 million homes in Brazil and the Andes mountain regions of South America. It was the fifth launch this year for the Los Angeles-based rocket maker, which in the last 18 months has come to dominate the commercial rocket business, flying far more often than its competitors. The Falcon 9 has evolved considerably since its first test flights to become the only fully reusable launch platform in the world.

The mission is the latest example of SpaceX bringing a commercial launch and an global customer back to Cape Canaveral.

Early Tuesday morning, SpaceX's Falcon 9 successfully completed another launch.

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The company tends to refer to all three versions as one extended family, taking the total number of missions to 50 with the latest launch.

But, SpaceX would not attempt to land Falcon 9's booster today "due to unfavourable weather conditions in the recovery area off of Florida's Atlantic Coast", said a company statement.

"Hispasat 30W-6 will provide Hispasat additional Ku and C band capacity in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Americas; reinforce the distribution of audiovisual content in Latin America; and provide connectivity in mobile environments", SpaceX representatives wrote in the mission description.

Hispasat was first formed in 1989 and its first satellite, Hispasat 1A, launched on an Ariane 4 rocket in 1992.

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