By Casey Quackenbush
September 10, 2018

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched a communications satellite into orbit Monday before completing a drone ship landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

Following a 77-minute weather delay, the Falcon 9 Rocket took off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 12:45 a.m. EDT, and then sent the satellite into orbit 32 minutes later.

About 8 minutes after the separation, the first stage of the Falcon 9 landed on a drone ship called “Of Course I Still Love You.”

The satellite, known as the Telstar 18 Vantage, is the third high throughput satellite (HTS) in the Canadian company’s global fleet and the first to cover the Asia Pacific region, which means improved connectivity between Asia and the Americas.

Built by the California-based aerospace company SSL, the new satellite “will replace and expand on the capabilities of Telesat’s Telstar 18 satellite,” which first launched in 2004, SpaceX officials said in a statement.

At 15,564 lbs, the satellite is the second heaviest communications satellite ever launched and is designed to last about 15 years in orbit, Space.com reports.

SpaceX is expected to launch its next mission on Oct. 7 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with Argentina’s SAOCOM 1A Earth-observation satellite, according to Space.com.

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