SpaceX’s second Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off Thursday with the Arabsat 6A communications satellite. The world’s most powerful operational launcher lifted off from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 6:35 p.m. EDT (2235 GMT), and its three first stage boosters landed less than 10 minutes later — two back at Cape Canaveral and one on a drone ship at sea.
The launch of a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana with four more satellites Thursday to join SES’s O3b broadband network will help satisfy growing bandwidth demands in Latin America, Africa and the Pacific islands until the deployment of a new generation of upgraded spacecraft in 2021, SES officials said.
Russian ground crews working in starkly different environments on the barren steppes of Kazakhstan and in the lush jungles of South America are readying a pair of Soyuz rockets for two launches Thursday, one to resupply the International Space Station, and another to broaden the capacity of SES’s O3b Internet network.
An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle blasted off and successfully deployed a military electronic surveillance satellite and 28 nanosatellites for companies in the United States, Lithuania, Spain and Switzerland at two different altitudes Monday, before the rocket’s upper stage began an extended mission as a solar-powered experiment platform in low Earth orbit.