SINGAPORE — SpaceX launched the last of telecom satellite operator Inmarsat's first-generation Global Xpress satellites May 15 on a mission where SpaceX did not attempt to recover the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage.
The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on schedule at 7:21 p.m. Eastern, releasing the Inmarsat-5 F4 satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit nearly 32 minutes later.
The decision to conduct an expendable launch, now seen as rare for the Hawthorne, California, company that has landed 10 first stage boosters after their respective missions, was because of the satellite's mass, the heaviest geostationary orbit satellite launched to date by SpaceX. At 6,100 kilograms, Inmarsat-5 F4 required fuel SpaceX would have otherwise reserved for the rocket's return in order to get the satellite to geostationary transfer orbit. See More
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