SpaceX’s second Falcon 9 flight of the year lifted off Jan. 31 from Cape Canaveral with GovSat 1, a U.S.-built satellite funded by SES and the government of Luxembourg to provide secure communications for military and civil defense authorities.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 lifted off from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad at 4:25 p.m. EST (2125 GMT) on Jan. 31.
The Falcon 9 soared to the east from Florida’s Space Coast and placed the GovSat 1 spacecraft, manufactured by Orbital ATK, into a “supersynchronous” transfer orbit stretching more than 30,000 miles above Earth.
GovSat 1 will circularize its path around Earth to slip into geostationary orbit nearly 22,300 miles (35,800 kilometers) over the equator for a 15-year mission relaying data and messages across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and adjacent seas for Luxembourg’s government and the country’s European and NATO allies.
The launch marked the 48th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket, and the second Falcon 9 mission of 2018.
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