December 16th JCSAT-18/Kacific 1 mission
7:10 pm EST atop a Falcon 9 rocket from LC-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fl.
In stunning fashion SpaceX launches their final mission of the year. Shortly after sunset on the space coast the night turns to day for a few seconds as the nine Merlin engines underneath the Falcon 9 rocket ignite, creating 1.7 million pounds of thrust. The payload for tonight's mission was the JCSAT-18 / Kacific 1 satellite. Weight in at just under 7,000 kg, or 15,335 pounds it is one of the heaviest satellites SpaceX has yet to launch. Upon deployment the upper stage will enter an elliptical transfer orbit, and the spacecraft will use it's on board hydrazine fueled engine to bring itself into a circular geostationary orbit more that 22,000 miles over the equator. This is where it will operate for it's fifteen year mission.
A long exposure of the Falcon 9 soaring through the clouds Monday night.
Tonight's booster, 1056 has flown two previous times before both on ISS resupply missions earlier this year. It was successfully landed on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" around eight minutes after liftoff.
The satellite will use its Ku-band capacity to support mobile and broadband services over Japan, Asia-Pacific far eastern Russia. Kacific's part of the satellite will provide internet service to under served areas across Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.