Despite bad weather which held up its initial launch plans by just over 24 hours, SpaceX successfully used a Falcon 9 rocket to launch a Canadian satellite in the early hours of September 9th, and then just 8 minutes later managed to recover the valuable first stage onto a floating barge in the Atlantic Ocean.
The satellite, Telsat 18 Vantage, was a so-called ‘condo sat’, owned jointly by Telesat of Ottawa and APT Satellite of Hong Kong. The slightly larger part of its capacity (57.5 per cent) is owned and utilized by APT Satellite of Hong Kong (APSTAR 5). The APSTAR portion will utilise just over 36 of the craft’s total 63 transponders.
The satellite was built by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, California. It will orbit at 138 degrees East, and potentially serve from India and Pakistan in the West to Hawaii in the East. The craft is the second-heaviest communications satellite ever built, at 7060 kgs.
The satellite, when in orbit, will replace Telstar 18/Apstar 5 launched back in 2004.
The SpaceX launch is the 15th this year (and the 18th overall successful landing on the floating barge).