Menu
Space X appears to pass major test of rocket technology

Space X appears to pass major test of rocket technology

Elon Musk's Space X has successfully launched a commercial telecom satellite

A Space X Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral on December 3, 2013

A Space X Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral on December 3, 2013

The Space X Falcon 9 rocket appears to have passed an important step, with the launch of a telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.

Space X was founded by Elon Musk, who also founded Tesla Motors. It hopes to revolutionize the launch business by making it easier and cheaper to dispatch rockets that may one day carry people to other planets.

Tuesday's launch, the seventh flight for the rocket, occurred at 5:41 p.m. EST (22:41 GMT) from Cape Canaveral in Florida and required Space X to perform a significantly more difficult task than it has with prior launches.

Rather than simply send a payload into space, the launch of a communications satellite requires a two-step burn of the rocket's engines. The satellite first needs to be taken to a parking orbit and then, after a few minutes, engines are reignited to carry the satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.

"Falcon 9 second stage restart burn successful. Orbit looks nominal," Space X said in a Twitter message.

From there, the satellite can make it into a geostationary orbit approximately 36,000 kilometers up, in which the satellite's orbit matches that of Earth's rotation. That means the satellite appears to be stationary when viewed from Earth and allows for the use of fixed satellite dishes.

"Spacecraft separation confirmed! SES-8 is now in its targeted geo transfer orbit," the company said in a second message minutes later.

Getting the launch right was important for Space X. It not only proves the young company's rocket technology but also gives it a place in the commercial satellite-launching industry.

Space X had attempted the launch several times in recent days. On Nov. 25, three attempts were made during a four-hour launch window, and on Nov. 28 two attempts were made. One was aborted as the engines were being ignited, apparently because they didn't achieve thrust level fast enough.

The SES-8 satellite will provide telecommunications and television services to customers in Asia from an orbital position at 95 degrees East. The satellite will have two beams, one covering the Indian sub-continent and another covering Indo-China.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationpopular sciencesatelliteSpace X

Brand Post

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments