SpaceX Rocket Launch From Cape Canaveral October 30, 2017

A Falcon 9 rocket launched Monday from the Kennedy Space Center Monday afternoon.

In addition to delivering the satellite, the Falcon 9 had a secondary mission of attempting to land the rocket's first-stage on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship, positioned in the Atlantic Ocean. These dramatic events are part of the company's plan to develop completely reusable rockets and space vehicles, a breakthrough that SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said will slash the cost of spaceflight.

The rocket landing was the 19th that SpaceX has pulled off during orbital launches. Eastern, deploying the satellite 36 minutes after liftoff.

Koreasat-5A's on-board thrusters will be used over the next few weeks to circularize the orbit at its operational altitude of 22,300 miles above the equator where spacecraft take 24 hours to complete one orbit and thus appear stationary in the sky - a key requirement for communications satellites. Officials confirmed the satellite was healthy following the launch. Second stage engine burn underway. Problems with the satellite's solar arrays have forced the communications company to retire the craft. (3,700 kilograms) Koreasat-5A to provide direct-to-home broadcast and broadband services to customers in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, among other nations.

Koreasat 5A will also offer coverage for maritime communications in the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea and the East China Sea. The U.S. Air Force in 2007 leased SLC-40 to SpaceX. Little is known about the mission, which was not publicly disclosed until earlier this month.

The Hawthorne, California-based launch services provider has now matched ULA's most active year - 2009 - where the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture launched five Atlas 5s, eight Delta 2s and three Delta 4s (including one Delta 4 Heavy). The webcast below should begin about 15 minutes before the launch window opens.

  • Rogelio Becker