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

Ultra-close stars discovered inside a planetary nebula

October 23, 2018

An international team of astronomers have discovered two stars in a binary pair that complete an orbit around each other in a little over three hours, residing in the planetary nebula M3-1. Remarkably, the stars could drive ...

NASA's First Image of Mars from a CubeSat

October 23, 2018

NASA's MarCO mission was designed to find out if briefcase-sized spacecraft called CubeSats could survive the journey to deep space. Now, MarCO—which stands for Mars Cube One—has Mars in sight.

Student discovers slowest ever pulsar star

October 23, 2018

An approximately 14 million year old pulsar star that is the "slowest-spinning" of its kind ever identified has been discovered by a Ph.D. student from The University of Manchester.

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.