Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket delivered Telesat of Canada’s Telstar-19 giant Vantage communications satellite into orbit in a textbook launch in the early hours of July 22nd from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The rocket used was a Falcon 9 ‘Block 5’ version and was the second flight for the configuration. The extra power available because of Block 9 full thrust version of the rocket was hugely useful in lifting Telstar-19 with its 7076 kgs of launch weight. Indeed, the satellite was the largest-ever communications craft handled by SpaceX.
The spacecraft, built by Space Systems/Loral, successfully separated from the rocket and within minutes had activated its on-board telemetry saying that all was well.
To cap it all, Musk’s team nine minutes later then successfully brought the rocket back to its ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ floating drone ship.
What’s important about the newly configured Block 5 version is that it designed for multiple re-uses, probably up to around 10 launches per rocket, and without major refurbishment.
SpaceX is in for a busy two weeks: It will launch another rocket from its West Coast base at Vandenburg Air Force Base in California (scheduled for July 25th, and for client Iridium). On August 2nd another rocket will orbit a satellite for Indonesia, also from Cape Canaveral.
Telesat 19V will be used for broadband satellite services to Brazil (from 63 degrees West) , and the northern Canadian territory of Nunavut.