Gallery: SpaceX sends KoreaSat 5A spaceward
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — SpaceX launched KoreaSat 5A atop one of its Falcon 9 rockets at 3:34 p.m. EDT (19:34 GMT) Oct. 30, 2017. The mission was the 16th this year for the Hawthorne, California-based company.
Launching into picture-perfect blue skies, the vehicle left historic Launch Complex 39A, clearing the tower in just seven seconds. About a minute later, the vehicle experienced the moment of peak mechanical stress – Max Q.
After 2.5 minutes of flight, the first stage’s nine Merlin 1D engines cut off as planned. The first and second stages then separated before going separate ways. The second stage with KoreaSat 5A continued powering toward orbit while the first stage made its way back to Earth to land on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
The first stage was a fresh core, as opposed to one that was previously flown. It landed on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Of Course I Still Love You some 8.5 minutes after leaving Florida. SpaceX will refurbish it for a future mission.
Back in space, the second stage reached a parking orbit and coasted for about 18 minutes before lighting its single Merlin 1D engine for a second time. This one-minute burn placed KoreaSat 5A in a geostationary transfer orbit.
SpaceFlight Insider’s visual team captured the following photos.