SpaceX launches Asian communication satellite

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 16 (UPI) — SpaceX successfully launched on Monday evening a communications satellite that is owned jointly by two companies, one in Japan and one in Malaysia, aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida.

The rocket launched as planned at 7:10 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The late autumn weather was ideal for the launch with light clouds and light breeze.

The company confirmed that the spacecraft had reached its intended orbit about 28 minutes after launch.

The first-stage booster flew back and landed on the company’s droneship, “Of Course I Still Love You,” stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the 47th booster recovery for the space company.

The Boeing-built satellite, called JCSAT 18/Kacific 1, is designed to provide mobile and broadband services across the Asia-Pacific region. The owners are Tokyo-based SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. and Singapore-based Kacific Broadband Satellites.

The first-stage booster for Monday’s launch was used previously on two SpaceX cargo missions to the International Space Station, CRS-17 in May and CRS-18 in July.

SpaceX attempted to catch the rocket nose cone, or fairing, with two other ships, Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief, but the two pieces fell into the ocean. The company said on Twitter it would fish them out and attempt to refurbish the fairing anyway.

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