SpaceX launches communications satellite

Thursday, 19 Dec, 2019

Kacific-1/JCSat-18 lifts off from Cape Canveral, Florida, onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 satellite launch vehicle.

On Sunday, a SpaceX Dragon capsule docked with the International Space Station hauling almost three tons of cargo.

The launch window opens at 7:10 p.m. ET and will close at 8:38 p.m. ET and you can stream the mission live here.

Falcon 9 B1056 stands vertical for the third time in seven months at SpaceX's LC-40 launch pad. If successful and the rocket itself is able to land on SpaceX's recovery ship, it'll mark the first time the company has caught both pieces following a single launch.

SpaceX launched a communications satellite built by Boeing on Monday evening from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The company confirmed that the spacecraft had reached its intended orbit about 28 minutes after launch.

It will provide mobile and broadband services across the Asia-Pacific region. The satellite is shared between Singapore startup Kacific Broadband Satellites, which is marking its first launch, and Japanese operator Sky Perfect JSAT.

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Now, all that's left to do is to get the internet connection up and running.

"The Kacific system will be particularly appealing to the needs of health and education departments in provinces and villages".

The Kacific1 satellite is based on Boeing's 702MP-satellite platform. If all goes well, the company will follow the Falcon 9/Dragon flight with launch of an EchoStar communications satellite around March 1. Its objective is to determine if plant cells undergo genetic mutations while in space. The cultures will include variants of coffee and hemp, which is a form of marijuana, to check whether the plant cells undergo mutation when exposed to zero gravity.

"Celebrating this launch with Kacific's global supporters has been an incredible and affirming experience". Researchers would like to study these mutations and see what happens to the plants once they are returned to Earth.