SpaceX Marks 50th Falcon 9 Mission with Fabulous Midnight Blastoff of Hispasat Telecomsat: Photos

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket streaks to orbit after
launching from Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40)
on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL
at 12:33 a.m.
EST on March 6, 2018, carrying the Hispasat 30W-6 telecomsat for spanish operator Hispasat.  Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

Ken Kremer     SpaceUpClose.com     6 Mar 2018
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION,
FL – SpaceX marked the occasion of the 50th mission for the Falcon 9
rocket with a fabulous midnight blastoff of the Hispasat telecommunications satellite
from the Florida Space Coast and deployment to orbit early today, Tuesday,
March 6, to provide high definition TV, voice, and high speed internet connectivity
to Spanish and Portuguese speaking regions across Europe and the Americas.  
The 50th SpaceX Falcon
9 rocket successfully lifted off at
12:33
a
.m.
EST (533 GMT, 633 Spanish time) from seaside Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) on Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, FL, with the giant sized 6 ton
Hispasat
30W-6 communications satellite.
Under serenely calm and nearly
cloud free nighttime skies the Falcon 9 came to life shortly after midnight
local time and right at the opening of the two hour launch window, igniting its
9 Merlin 1D engines to generate 1.7 million pounds of liftoff thrust fueled by cryogenic liquid oxygen and RP-1 kerosene propellants.
The Falcon 9 roared off pad 40
and never looked back as it streaked to orbit during a live launch webcast broadcast
by SpaceX.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off from Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) on Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, FL with the
Hispasat 30W-6 telecomsat for spanish operator
Hispasat
at 12:33 a.m. EST on March 6, 2018.  The 6 ton satellite was delivered to orbit.
Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

The launch wowed spectators and was easily
visible for over 5 minutes owing to the almost immaculately clear skies that
are a skywatchers and space enthusiasts delight.

The Falcon 9 delivered the
Hispasat 30W-6 telecomsat for Spain to
geostationary
transfer
orbit on Tuesday March 6. It will
transmit HDTV, DTV and highspeed internet to Spanish and Portuguese language
countries and regions in Europe, North and South America and north Africa.

“At 6 metric tons and
almost the size of a city bus, it will be the largest geostationary satellite
we’ve ever flow,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted prior to launch.



As planned, the 6 ton bus sized  satellite separated from the second stage 33
minutes after liftoff and the power generating s
olar panels were unfurled.


“Successful deployment of Hispasat 30W-6 to a geostationary
transfer orbit confirmed,” said the SpaceX commentator.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off from Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) on Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, FL with the
Hispasat 30W-6 telecomsat for spanish operator
Hispasat
at 12:33 a.m. EST on March 6, 2018.  The 6 ton satellite was delivered to geostationary
transfer orbit.
Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

“This new satellite
will allow us to meet the growing
connectivity demand detected in the market,” said
Carlos Espinós,
CEO of HISPASAT, in a statement.

“In the hyperconnected world in which
we live, access to quality broadband is an essential need for economic, social
and even personal development, and this satellite fulfils this need in places
other technologies cannot reach. Hispasat 30W-6 allows us to broaden capacity
and services, while completing the current phase of the company’s growth plan”.

SpaceX did not attempt to recover the
first stage of the rocket by soft-landing n the drone ship due to rough seas
with waves swelling to over 20 feet. Thus the recovery fleet and OCISLY drone
ship remained berthed in Port Canaveral.

The orbit will now be raised over the next few weeks to position
Hispasat
30W-6 at its final location at 30 degrees West in geostationary orbit while technicians conduct
a spacecraft checkout .

Seperation of 30W-6 from Falcon 9 second stage. Credit: SpaceX

After the successful separation “manoeuvres began to position
the new satellite at the point where the test phase will be carried out to make
sure it is working properly, and which is scheduled to last several weeks. Once
the tests have been passed, the satellite will be placed in its final orbital
position at 30° West” said Hispasat in a statement.

The single stick SpaceX Falcon 9 had been
raised erect to launch position at pad 40 early Monday, March 5.

The Hispasat 30W-6
telecommunications satellite was encapsulated inside the payload fairing.

And it’s a whooper sized
satellite.

“Falcon 9 flight 50
launches tonight, carrying Hispasat for Spain,” tweeted SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

“At 6 metric tons and
almost the size of a city bus, it will be the largest geostationary satellite
we’ve ever flown.”

The launch was delayed about a
week from late February when a last minute issue arose with the fairing
pressurization mechanism, which has now been resolved.

“The Hispasat 30W-6 satellite will be put into
space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in
Florida, after the fairing’s pressurization system incident was solved,”
HISPASAT said in a statement released today.

The two stage 229-foot-tall (70-meter-tall) SpaceX Falcon 9
rocket delivered HispaSat 30W-6 to a geosynchronous transfer orbit for HISPASAT – which is “comprised of companies that have a
presence in Spain as well as in Latin America, where its Brazilian affiliate
HISPAMAR is based.”

HISPASAT is a world leader in the
distribution and broadcasting of Spanish and Portuguese content, and its
satellite fleet is used by important direct-to-home television (DTH) and
high-definition television (HDTV) digital platforms, according to a company
description.

After
reaching its initial orbit it will be moved to its final orbital position, 30º
West, where it will replace and broaden the capacity of Hispasat 30W-4.

It
is equipped with 40 Ku-band transponders, 6 Ka-band beams and 10 C-band
transponders.

Photo of Hispasat 30W-6 communications
satellite built by SSL. Credit: SSL

The Hispasat 30W-6 telecomsat launched Tuesday “was manufactured by
Space Systems Loral in Palo Alto (California) and involved the significant
participation of the Spanish aerospace industry.”

The bus sized satellite weighs 6 metric tons.

This SpaceX Falcon 9 launch concluded  a back to back double header of launches in
the span of just over 4 days!

This past Thursday, March 1, ULA opened the month with the
stunning dinnertime liftoff of the 20 story tall Atlas V rocket carrying the
5.5 ton GOES-S next generation weather observatory to geosynchronous orbit for
NOAA and NASA. Read out stories.

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX,
ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more
space and mission
reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer –
ken
at kenkremer.com

SpaceX Falcon 9 is poised for liftoff from Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) on Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, FL with the
Hispasat 30W-6
telecomsat f
or Spain shortly after midnight
on March 6, 2018. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com
Up close view of the nose cone
encapsulating
Hispasat 30W-6 telecomsat with Hispasat logo launching on SpaceX Falcon 9 on
March 6, 2018 just after midnight.

Credit:
Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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