SpaceX has launched its largest payload to date - the Hispasat 30W-6 from Cape Canaveral after more than a week of delays. It is a Spanish communications satellite that weighs 6 tons and is the size of a city bus.
At the time of writing, SpaceX confirmed the "deployment of Hispasat 30W-6 to a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO)". The initial launch date that the company was targeting was 25 February.
Hispasat 30W-6, according to SpaceX, is the biggest, heaviest payload they have ever put in orbit. The company also reported that the time taken from launch off the Cape to deployment of the satellite was only about 33 minutes. In that time, the Falcon placed the satellite in GTO at an altitude of around 37,500 km above Earth.
The 30W-6, will remain in geostationary orbit, which means it will follow the direction of Earth's rotation. It will take one day to complete an orbit, and according to a report put out by SpaceX, "Hispasat 30W-6 (previously Hispasat 1F) will be located at 30º W and serve as a replacement for the Hispasat 30W-4 (former Hispasat 1D) satellite, providing television, broadband, corporate networks and other telecommunications solutions. Built on the SSL 1300 satellite platform, Hispasat 30W-6 is expected to have a useful life of 15 years with 10.5 kW power..."
Unlike most other Falcon 9 launches, this one did not have the first stage rocket come back and land to be reused again. The reason for not doing this was that there were certain unfavorable weather conditions during the launch that did not allow for it near the recovery area off the Florida coast in the Atlantic.
Very proud of the SpaceX team! Can’t believe it’s been fifty Falcon 9 launches already. Just ten years ago, we couldn’t even reach orbit with little Falcon 1.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2018
During the Falcon Heavy launch, one of the landing pod drones, Of Course I Still Love You, which was scheduled to land the third booster was reported to have sustained damages during the unsuccessful landing attempt.
SpaceX has just added another record to its already glowing line up this year. After the launch this week, the Elon Musk-led company has now successfully launched the Falcon 9 rocket 50 times. Also, this one marks 2018's fifth launch for SpaceX and four of them were using Falcon 9 rockets.