SpaceX launches communications satellite for South Korea into orbit
An undated handout photo made available by the NASA on 18 February 2017 shows the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. EPA-EFE/FILE/SPACEX HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A handout photo made available by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning shows South Korea's Mugunghwa-5A telecommunications satellite lifting off from a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, 30 October 2017. EPA/MSIP / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
A handout photo made available by SpaceX on 31 October 2017 shows a Falcon 9 rocket after it landed back on a platform ship in the Atlantic Ocean on 24 August 2017. EPA-EFE/ SpaceX HANDOUT EDITORIALUSE ONLY
A handout picture made available by NASA on 19 April 2014 shows the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rising above the lightning masts carrying the Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) on Space Launch Complex 40, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA, 18 April 2014. EPA-EFE/FILE/NASA/KIM SHIFLETT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Miami, USA, Oct 30 (efe-epa).- The United States private company SpaceX on Monday successfully launched a reusable Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying a communications satellite that will expand South Korea's coverage across Asia and the Middle East.
After the satellite was placed into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), the reusable part of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket landed on a drone ship named "Of Course I Still Love You" in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Approximately 6 minutes 30 seconds after liftoff, the rocket restarted its engines and set off for the return, and about 2 minutes later the rocket landed on the ship.
Koreasat-5A, a commercial communications satellite, is operated by South Korea's KT SAT, the only satellite service provider in that country, and seeks to replace the Koreasat-5, SpaceX said in a statement.
Unlike other Koreasat satellites, the 5A will provide maritime coverage across the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, South China Sea and East China Sea.
In 2014, SpaceX signed a 20-year contract with NASA to use the iconic 39A launch pad, which has a history dating back to the early 1960s, when it hosted the famous Apollo mission program.
Since then, the company has made improvements to modernize the launch pad and its operating systems, and has previously launched its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets from there.