Deployment of the Hispasat 30W-6 satellite from the Falcon 9 rocket

Wednesday, 07 Mar, 2018

Hispasat launched the Amazonas-5 satellite on a Russian Proton through International Launch Services in September, and Hispasat-36W-1 on a Soyuz rocket from European launch provider Arianespace in January 2017. In that duration, the Falcon 9 placed the Spanish satellite in GTO at an altitude of around 37,000 km above the Earth.

Of the 49 completed launches, 47 are classified as successes.

Hispasat leases transponders on the board of three third-party satellites, Intelsat 34, Star One C4 and Star One D1, as well.

SpaceX has 30 missions scheduled for 2018, nearly doubling the number from 18 in 2017. The 50th Falcon 9 launch was earlier targeted for February 25.

Hispasat 30W-6 contains a tri-band communications payload that will allow delivery of high-speed internet and satellite television across the Americas and the Caribbean, North Africa, Europe, and the Mediterranean region, with a particular focus on Spain and Portugal.

By comparison, Hispasat 30W-4 was a much smaller satellite, weighing around 3,300 kilograms, nearly half of Hispasat 30W-6, and carried 28 Ku-band transponders. It is anticipated to have a useful life of at least 15 years and weighs 6,092 kilograms (13,430 lb).

The satellite weighed 6 metric tonnes and was the biggest-ever satellite carried by SpaceX.

Rough seas prevented SpaceX from attempting to land the Falcon 9's first-stage booster, which was expected to be destroyed when it splashed down in 26-foot waves. Thus, space enthusiasts can watch it online on SpaceX's website which has already displayed the upcoming launch on March 6.

The larger Falcon Heavy flights cost about £65 million ($90m) each.

Powered by nine Merlin engines, the Falcon 9's first stage has also mastered the art of landing upright on solid ground or floating platforms in the ocean after launch. After the launch this week, the Elon Musk-led company has now successfully launched the Falcon 9 rocket 50 times.