SpaceX has launched a Korean broadcaster’s communications satellite.
Built by Cannes, France-based Thales Alenia Space, the satellite is owned by Seoul-based KTsat, South Korea’s largest telecommunications company, and represents an upgrade of the fleet satellite it replaces.
The sat will beam communications services including direct-to-home TV to customers in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Guam and Southeast Asia, and help with maritime communications in some territories in the Middle East and Africa.
About eight minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9’s reusable first stage was landed on a droneshaped named Of Course I Still Love You floating in the Atlantic near the launch site.
“It’s a little toasty,” a SpaceX commentator said with a chuckle over video imagery of the landing showing charred rocket fins on the erect booster.
Koreasat 5A was set to be deployed into its target orbit just over 35 minutes post-launch.
The launch for KTsat was SpaceX’s 16 mission this year and the 44th Falcon 9 launch since its first flight in June 2010. The Hawthorne, Calif.-based company’s most recent previous launch was on Oct. 11, when it lifted a communications satellite to be used by pair of broadcasters, EchoStar and SES.