A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the EchoStar 105/SES-11 communications satellite has been launched into space from Nasa's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, US.
The reusable rocket deployed the satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) roughly 36 minutes after lift-off.
The rocket’s first stage then made a successful landing back on Earth on a droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean following separation from its payload.
SpaceX previously used the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket to launch the 10th resupply mission to the International Space Station (CRS-10) in February.
The latest mission also follows a launch to deploy ten communication satellites into space on behalf of Iridium Communications, which was performed by SpaceX two days ago.
The newly launched EchoStar 105/SES-11 is a high-powered hybrid Ku and C-band communications satellite.
It features a dual-mission capability and will be jointly operated by US-based company EchoStar and Luxembourg-based SES.
EchoStar 105/SES-11 is set to provide EchoStar with 24 Ku-band transponders of 36MHz, while it will offer a C-band payload of 24 transponders to SES.
The satellite is intended to replace Ku-band capacity for AMC-15 and C-band capacity for AMC-18 at SES’ 105° West orbital slot.
It will be able to help EchoStar meet its Ku-band capacity requirements serving various enterprise, media and broadcast organisations, as well as US Government service provider customers.
The satellite has also been developed to cover 50 US states, in addition to expanding EchoStar’s reach to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
Image: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with EchoStar 105/SES-11 satellite being launched into orbit. Photo: courtesy of Space Exploration Technologies Corp.