A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has launched a broadband-communications satellite for Inmarsat.
Inmarsat-5 F4 becomes the fourth satellite in Inmarsat’s Global Xpress constellation, completing a broadband network. The sat’s launch originally had been set for April 30 before a brief delay caused by some juggling of SpaceX’s flight manifest.
No attempt was made to land the first stage for re-use. That’s because the Boeing-built satellite payload — at a whopping 13,500 pounds — required such outsize thrust requirements as to make a landing unfeasible.
On May 1, SpaceX launched a spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. In that case, the Falcon 9’s booster stage was returned to a base landing pad for reuse in a future mission.
Inmarsat is a London-based satellite telecom. The Inmarsat-5 FX reportedly will be used in part for back-up purposes in the GX constellation; the company hasn’t provided other details on the satellite’s intended use in the broadband network.