SpaceX has launched the Koreasat-5A communications satellite for South Korea’s KT SAT on Monday, with a Falcon 9 lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center to carry the satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Launch occurred on time at 15:34 local time (19:34 UTC), at the opening of a two-hour, 24-minute window. Landing of the first stage was also successful, albeit resulting in a “toasty” engine section.
This launch was the 16th of the year for SPACEX – deployed KT SAT’s Koreasat-5A spacecraft, which is also known as Mugungwha 5A. Replacing a faulty satellite in the South Korean operator’s fleet, Koreasat-5A will begin a fifteen-year mission with its journey to orbit aboard Falcon 9.
The three-and-a-half-tonne (7,700 lb) KoreaSat-5A satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space and is based on the SpaceBus-4000B2 platform. Equipped with thirty-six Ku-band transponders, the satellite will support broadcasting and internet services in Korea, Southeast Asia and the Middle East from geostationary orbit at a longitude of 113 degrees East. Koreasat-5A is expected to operate for at least fifteen years.