SpaceX launched the SES O3b mPOWER mission on Sunday (November 12), a flight that placed two communications satellites into medium Earth orbit (MEO).
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying these satellites took off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 4:08 pm EST (2108 GMT).
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The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage returned to Earth and landed vertically on the company’s drone ship about 8.5 minutes after liftoff. The ship known as the “Gravity Deficit” was waiting nearby in the Atlantic Ocean. The rocket’s upper stage will not be recovered, as is usual on Falcon 9 flights.
Two hours after liftoff, the rocket’s upper stage will deploy the first two satellites into medium Earth orbit (MEO) about 5,000 miles (8,000 km) above our planet. Seven minutes later, the second satellite will be launched.
The two Boeing-built spacecraft on the flight will expand the O3b constellation of communications satellites operated by SES SA in Luxembourg. Once the six-satellite constellation is complete, it is expected to provide high-speed connectivity to a variety of customers in both government and private industries starting in late 2023.
The Falcon 9 booster has flown during the flight on eight previous missions, five of which were dedicated to building Starlink, SpaceX’s massive constellation of broadband Internet satellites. Starlink currently consists of More than 5,000 operational satellites.
The SES O3b mPOWER mission marks SpaceX’s 84th launch of the year.
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