SpaceX will take a little break from recycling when it launches a European satellite Monday afternoon.
Elon Musk's rocket company is set to carry the Boeing-built Inmarsat-5 F4 satellite into orbit after blasting it off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Inmarsat, a London-based company, operates a global, high-speed mobile broadband network that relies on its "Global Xpress" constellation of satellites: F4 is the fourth satellite in the constellation and will increase the network's capacity.
The heavy satellite will set off for space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket that SpaceX has no plans of attempting to land, as it has with its recent launches. Weighing in at 13,417 pounds (6,086 kilograms), the rocket will use up most of its fuel to push the payload beyond the pull of Earth's gravity, not leaving enough for a landing attempt.
Instead, the spent rocket will fall into the Atlantic Ocean, as numerous rocket boosters did before SpaceX and others like Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin led the charge toward reusable rockets.
A 49-minute launch window for the mission opens at 4:20 pm PT Monday afternoon. You can watch a live webcast of the launch below at that time:
The satellite is the size of a double decker bus. According to Florida Today, SpaceX originally planned to launch it using its upcoming Falcon Heavy rocket, but scheduling concerns dictated switching to the smaller Falcon 9.
SpaceX test-fired the bigger rocket earlier this month for the first time, and the first demonstration launch is set for later this year.
The company plans to use Falcon Heavy for launches of bigger satellites like Inmarsat-5 F4 and eventually for missions to Mars. No word yet on what type of rocket Elon Musk hopes to use to launch satellites that will provide mobile broadband for his planned million-person colony on the Red Planet.
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