Space Exploration Technologies blasted off its Falcon 9 rocket on Tuesday from the coastal launch pad at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to place a commercial communications satellite into the orbit.
AsiaSat 8 thundered off from its launch pad at 4 am on Tuesday. The giant spacecraft was pushed off in the outer space with 1.3 million pounds of thrust. The rocket was successfully launched in the second attempt after it managed to blaze through pre-dawn and partly cloudy sky while heading towards the space.
Scientists had made the first attempt to launch the communication satellite about 2-1/2 hours earlier to the second try. The first attempt failed after a computer detected a potential glitch with the first-stage engine of the rocket just less than a minute before liftoff. According to SpaceX officials’ statement in a live webcast, the problem was resolved at the earliest and the rocket was ready to take off again.
The 224-foot SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was launched along with a communications satellite, which is owned by Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings Ltd (AsiaSat, Hong Kong-based firm. The communication satellite will beam broadband services including videos across the Asia-Pacific region.
AsiaSat 8 is manufactured by Space Systems/Loral, a Palo Alto, California-based subsidiary of Canada’s MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.
With the successful launch, AsiaSat 8 has become the fifth spacecraft member of an orbital network providing telecommunication services across the Asia-Pacific region.
Ahead of the launch, AsiaSat president and CEO William Wade said in an interview, “These are growth satellites for us. They are adding additional capacity in existing, growing markets that will help us to provide additional services to our customers and help that market expand.”
Privately owned SpaceX has been hired by AsiaSat to launch two communication satellites. The second satellite is scheduled to be launched later this month. The powerful AsiaSat 8 is designed in a way that it will last at least 15 years.
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