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Falcon 9 launching with the satellite aboardSpaceX
On Monday 16 December, SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 out of Cape Canaveral in Florida, as the rocket carried a heavyweight satellite up into orbit. The satellite is owned by a Singapore startup and a Japanese broadband provider.
Lift-off happened at 7:10 pm EST.
The satellite is to provide Ka-band internet coverage to 25 countries dotted across the South Pacific.
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Why carry out this mission?
The satellite, dubbed JCSAT 18/Kacific-1, was built by Boeing, and the hope is that it will bring better internet to many people in the South Pacific.
Webcast of Falcon 9 launch now live https://t.co/KMQtL0sGDd— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 16, 2019
The Singapore-based startup Kacific Broadband Satellites and Japanese broadband operator Sky Perfect JSAT are behind the project.
This is a crucial mission as if it succeeds, it will provide much-needed internet in far-fetched places in the South Pacific that predominantly need it for healthcare, hospitals, and schooling.
It's even more critical to have proper broadband coverage in such remote areas as they are relatively regularly ravaged by tsunamis and earthquakes — having a good internet connection would allow for better support and assistance.
The Falcon 9 launch
Thirty minutes after takeoff the Falcon 9 rocket deposited the satellite into an elliptical transfer orbit, where it will then be maneuvered into a final geostationary orbit — from where it will provide internet.
Around eight minutes after launch time, the rocket's first stage landed on one of SpaceX's two drone ships, the Of Course I Still Love You.
Now, all that's left to do is to get the internet connection up and running. If all goes to plan, there may even be a Kacific-2 mission in the near future.