Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) launched a private satellite yesterday marking its 13th launch of the year.
SpaceX launched Telstar communications satellite named Telstar 19 VANTAGE on early Sunday from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida at 1:50 am local time. The satellite was deployed approximately 32 minutes after liftoff and the rocket’s first stage later landed on the droneship named “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean, the company said on its website.
Telstar 19 VANTAGE will maintain a geosynchronous orbit, and will enter commercial operations once its in-orbit tests are completed. After deployment is approved, Telstar 19 VANTAGE will serve various communication purposes in nothern Canada, the northern Atlantic, the Caribbean, and South America.
SpaceX is targeting roughly 30 missions this year, up from a record 18 in 2017. The Hawthorne, California-based company’s valuation has climbed to about $25 billion, making it the third-most valuable venture-backed startup in the US after Uber Technologies Inc and Airbnb Inc. SpaceX currently holds a lease for the Cape Canaveral launch site, in an agreement with NASA, that allows it to operate commercial and government launches.