SpaceX blasts off Luxembourg government satellite

February 1, 2018
California-based SpaceX used a Falcon 9 rocket, an example of which is seen here, to blast off a four-ton military satellite for the government of Luxembourg from Cape Canaveral launch complex

SpaceX on Wednesday blasted off a four-ton secure military communications satellite called GovSat-1, a partnership between the government of Luxembourg and the satellite operator SES.

The prime minister and deputy prime minister of Luxembourg were in Florida for the launch, along with the prince and princess of Luxembourg, SpaceX said.

"There you saw a successful liftoff of the Falcon 9," a SpaceX commentator said as the rocket launched on a sunny day from Cape Canaveral at 4:25 pm (2125 GMT).

The satellite will enable "secure communication links between theaters of tactical operations, for maritime missions or over areas affected by ," said a SpaceX statement.

GovSat-1 is bound for a distant, and will support communications within Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

It will also enable operations over the Atlantic and Indian oceans and the Mediterranean and Baltic seas.

SpaceX did not attempt to land the first stage of the rocket after launch. The launch did however use a booster that flew last year.

The California-based company headed by space and solar energy tycoon Elon Musk has landed 21 rockets after launch as part of its effort to re-use costly rocket parts and bring down the costs of spaceflight.

Wednesday's comes three weeks after SpaceX blasted off a secretive US government payload, called Zuma.

According to media reports, the satellite did not make it into orbit, though the Pentagon refused to elaborate on what happened.

SpaceX said everything functioned fine with the rocket, and declined to comment further, citing national security concerns.

Explore further: SpaceX launches secretive Zuma mission

Related Stories

SpaceX launches secretive Zuma mission

January 8, 2018

SpaceX on Sunday blasted off a secretive US government payload known as Zuma, a mission whose nature—and the agency behind it—remains a mystery.

SpaceX poised to launch secretive Zuma mission

November 16, 2017

SpaceX is poised to launch on Thursday a secretive payload known as Zuma for the US government, though the nature of the mission and the agency behind it remain a mystery.

Pentagon mum on fate of secret satellite

January 11, 2018

The mystery surrounding the fate of a secret military satellite deepened Thursday when the Pentagon refused to answer even simple questions about whether the mission to launch it had gone awry.

SpaceX launches, lands recycled rocket

October 12, 2017

SpaceX on Wednesday launched a rocket that had already flown to space and landed it successfully on an ocean platform, as part of its ongoing effort to recycle costly rocket components.

Recommended for you

Magnetized inflow accreting to center of Milky Way galaxy

August 17, 2018

Are magnetic fields an important guiding force for gas accreting to a supermassive black hole (SMBH) like the one that our Milky Way galaxy hosts? The role of magnetic fields in gas accretion is little understood, and trying ...

First science with ALMA's highest-frequency capabilities

August 17, 2018

The ALMA telescope in Chile has transformed how we see the universe, showing us otherwise invisible parts of the cosmos. This array of incredibly precise antennas studies a comparatively high-frequency sliver of radio light: ...

Another way for stellar-mass black holes to grow larger

August 17, 2018

A trio of researchers with The University of Hong Kong, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan and Northwestern University in the U.S., has come up with an alternative theory to explain how some ...

Six things about Opportunity's recovery efforts

August 17, 2018

NASA's Opportunity rover has been silent since June 10, when a planet-encircling dust storm cut off solar power for the nearly-15-year-old rover. Now that scientists think the global dust storm is "decaying"—meaning more ...

Sprawling galaxy cluster found hiding in plain sight

August 16, 2018

MIT scientists have uncovered a sprawling new galaxy cluster hiding in plain sight. The cluster, which sits a mere 2.4 billion light years from Earth, is made up of hundreds of individual galaxies and surrounds an extremely ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.