SpaceX successfully launches commercial satellite

SpaceX launched a commercial communications satellite Monday afternoon, the sixth launch of the year for the Elon Musk-led company.

The Inmarsat-5 F4 satellite took off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at about 4:20 p.m. Pacific time. The satellite was deployed about 30 minutes later.

For the record:

11:18 a.m. Sept. 19, 2021An earlier version of this story said SpaceX has launched five satellites this year. Monday’s launch was the sixth.

Unlike in past launches, SpaceX did not attempt to land the first-stage booster. Getting the unusually large, 13,500-pound satellite to its geostationary orbit burned more fuel than a typical launch on a Falcon 9.


The satellite is intended to provide additional high-speed broadband capacity for users of London-based satellite communications firm Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network. It will orbit the Earth from a roughly fixed position above the ground.

Inmarsat-5 F4 will provide “in-orbit redundancy” — meaning it could serve as a replacement if any of the network’s existing satellites have problems — as well as provide other future capabilities, Inmarsat Chief Executive Rupert Pearce said in an earnings call this month.

The satellite was built in El Segundo by Boeing Co.

SpaceX’s last launch was May 1. That time, the Hawthorne space company — whose full name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — launched a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Twitter: @smasunaga



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4:30 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect launch of the satellite.

4:55 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect the satellite’s deployment.

The article was originally published at 6:45 a.m.