SpaceX Just Launched its 16th Rocket of the Year

Mindy Sparks
September 11, 2018

With a bit more than 75 miles under its belt half a day after landing, Falcon 9 should crest the horizon East of Port Canaveral as early as Wednesday morning, giving SpaceX technicians maybe 24 hours to attempt to secure the rocket and/or transport it to a hurricane-rated building in the unlikely but possible event that Florence veers South towards Cape Canaveral over the next two days. Eastern, 77 minutes into a four-hour launch window because of thunderstorms in the vicinity of the launch site that delayed fueling of the rocket.

The Telstar 18 Vantage is a hefty 15,564 pounds (7,060 kilograms), making it just slightly lighter than the Telstar 19V that was launched back in July, which was the heaviest communications satellite ever launched. About 8 minutes after liftoff, the rocket booster stuck a landing aboard SpaceX's East Coast drone ship named "Of Course I Still Love You". Telstar 18 VANTAGE is expected to enter commercial service this fall after it has completed orbit raising and on-orbit testing.

Telstar 18V is the third high-throughput satellite in a constellation launched by a Canadian company called Telesat, and it will be the first satellite in this fleet to provide coverage over the Asia-Pacific region.

The biggest customer for Telstar 18 Vantage will be another satellite operator, APT Satellite of Hong Kong.


The launch was the 16th of the year for SpaceX, but also the first for the company in more than a month, since the August 7 launch of the Merah Putih satellite for Telkom Indonesia.

SpaceX's launch schedule for the rest of the year is backloaded, with only one launch scheduled through the beginning of November. While the previous Telstar mission launched on a reused Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket in July, the Telstar 18V satellite launched on a brand-new rocket.

At 15,564 lbs, the satellite is the second heaviest communications satellite ever launched and is created to last about 15 years in orbit, Space.com reports.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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