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SpaceX launched what is claimed as its heaviest-ever satellite on May 15th when a Falcon 9 rocket lofted an Inmarsat craft into orbit. London-based Inmarsat-5 F4 (5th generation, flight 4) is one of the company’s Global Xpress constellation and is the fourth craft in this fleet.
This launch took the satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit, at 19.21pm EDT from the Cape Canaveral space station’s Launch Complex 39A. This is the same launch pad used by the Apollo missions, in particular Apollo 11 which took mankind to the first Moon landing. SpaceX did not recover the first stage of the expendable rocket, and had no plans to do so on this particular launch.
Built by Boeing of El Segundo, California, the satellite is the fourth of this latest generation of Inmarsat satellites. The body of the satellite some 7 metres long, taller than a double-decker bus. Its solar panel measure some 40.6 metres across (wider than a Boeing 737 aircraft), and overall weighed some 6100 kgs.
The GlobalXpress fleet supplies connectivity to the world’s maritime and aircraft fleets, as well as government use.