Image Credit SpaceX
After waiting out a 49 minute delay due to inclement weather, a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster lifted off from Cape Canaveral’s SLC-40 carrying a communications satellite for Turkmenistan.
Officially designed as TurkmenÄlem52E/MonacoSat but referred to by SpaceX as simply the Thales mission in reference to Thales Alenia Aerospace which built the spacecraft and booked the launch, liftoff occurred at 7:03 PM EDT under cloudy skies.
The Falon 9 booster placed the spacecraft into an initial parking orbit at 208 x 175 km at an inclination of 27.5 degrees. Shortly afterwards, as has become customary, SpaceX terminated the launch webcast prior to second stage re-start and the burn which would place it into geostationary transfer orbit. The cutoff led to an equally customary flurry of complaints across social media. SpaceX founder Elon Musk then partially filled the gap with a tweet stating that the rocket launch was good and the spacecraft was in transfer orbit.
Tonight’s launch marked the 13th flight of the Falcon 9 V1.1 and 18th flight of the Falcon 9 series overall.
This page will be updated as any further information becomes available.