The weather was good, but the chances of favorable conditions were only at 60 percent yesterday as SpaceX prepared to launch Turkmenistan’s first-ever satellite. And it was all systems go at the end of the day, with the Elon Musk-owned company launching a Falcon 9 rocket and delivering the communications satellite with flying colors.
The satellite launch was conducted at Cape Canaveral, Florida, as it sent the satellite some 22,000 miles above Earth, where it will provide television broadcasts and related services to about 1.2 billion individuals, not just in Turkmenistan, but in other parts of Central Asia, and in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Prior to the SpaceX launch, Turkmenistan had been renting satellites from Russia, but never had one of its own. French company Thales Alenia Space manufactured the 9,000-pound satellite.
Although it was established recently that SpaceX wouldn’t be able to land the Falcon 9 rocket on a target ship as it had previously tried three times earlier this year, the launch was nonetheless a success for Musk’s commercial space startup. Earlier this month, Musk had tried to land another Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship, though the rocket had narrowly missed making a perfect landing at that time.