Falcon 9 Carried Heaviest Load Ever in Successful SpaceX Launch

by Monica Hunter-Hart

On Monday, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 to deploy a 13,500 pound satellite, the heaviest load that this type of rocket has ever carried. Sent into flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the rocket burned its way through a successful mission.

The Inmarsat-5 F4 satellite was placed into a geostationary transfer orbit; from there it will eventually move into its permanent position 22,236 miles over Earth.

Inmarsat-5 F4 is the fourth and final of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network satellites, which are providing internet access for radio stations, airplanes, and ships around the world. The first three satellites were launched by Russian Proton rockets in 2013 and 2015.

SpaceX’s flashiest practice of late is reusing rocket boosters, but unfortunately that wasn’t possible this time. The rocket wasn’t able to carry enough fuel to make it back to the ground safely after hauling the weighty satellite, so it didn’t attempt a landing.

Off it goes.


Instead, the first stage separated from the rocket and fell back to Earth around 2:50 after launch — that’s the stage that SpaceX has successfully reused — and the second stage went on alone to carry the satellite to its destination.

If only we all looked this good while lifting weights.


The Falcon 9 deployed the satellite about 32 minutes after launch, right on schedule.

This was SpaceX’s sixth launch in 2017; the next is currently scheduled to take place on June 1. Watch the full webcast from Monday below.

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