A Falcon 9 rocket made a launch at 2338 GMT on 5 July from the SpaceX pad at the Kennedy Space Centre. On board was the INTELSAT 35e (Intelsat Epic 3) spacecraft which is designed to offer high throughput communications in North and South America and over the North Atlantic from its geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) position. Due to the heavy satellite with a mass of 6,761 kg, the Falcon 9v1.2 was flown in its “legless” non-reusable configuration.

Falcon 9v1.2FT is ready to go. Courtesy: Intelsat/Twitter


The rocket’s second stage burned 20s longer than usual to achieve an advantageous super-synchronous transfer orbit with an apogee of 43,000 km rather than 36,000 km of a standard Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The higher apogee allows for a more fuel efficient inclination removal.