April 13, 2016 – 07:43 am
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Falcon 9 successfully performs back-to-back AsiaSat Launches

SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday, delivering the AsiaSat-6 communications satellite to orbit as the second of back to back launches for Asia Satellite Telecommunications. Falcon 9 v1.1 blasted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:00 UTC and executed a 32-minute mission featuring two upper stage burns to boost the AsiaSat-6 satellite into Geostationary Transfer Orbit.
Sunday's mission again flew a leg-less Falcon 9 as the launcher needed most of its performance to loft the AsiaSat-6 spacecraft into the planned orbit. SpaceX is targeting to resume first stage return testing on its next three flights including the landing of the first stage on a 'solid surface' - presumably a floating platform of some sort before promoting to landings back on land in the future.
This flight was the fifth Falcon 9 launch of the year as SpaceX looks at a busy manifest of missions over the coming years with at least three more launches in 2014 which is already a record setting year for the company. 2015 will see even more launches including the first launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket conducted in parallel with Dragon Crew qualification tests and more testing to establish full reusability of the Flacon 9 first stages.
The AsiaSat-6 launch was delayed from late August to allow SpaceX to conduct additional reviews of the Falcon 9 with particular interest in its fault detection and recovery logic to evaluate how the vehicle would respond to improbable corner case failures. This re-visit of assessments that had already been made several times was triggered by the terminated flight of the F9R Dev1 test vehicle just days before the original AsiaSat-6 launch target. No changes to Falcon 9 were reported after the reviews had concluded.

*File Image* - Photo: SpaceX (AsiaSat-8)

Coming back from the ten-day launch delay, teams moved the Falcon 9 rocket back to the launch pad in the morning on Saturday, local time.Picture Using the transporter-erector, Falcon 9 was placed in its vertical launch position to allow teams to begin final hands-on operations to hook up commodity umbilicals, electrical and data lines and to start closing out the launch vehicle and all Ground Support Equipment.

Around 12 hours ahead of the opening of the long launch window, Falcon 9 was powered up for initial reconfigurations of its Flight Computers performed by the launch team at the Cape. Heading into launch vehicle testing operations, Falcon 9 underwent electrical testing, communication checks, beacon interrogations, propulsion system tests, Flight Termination System Verifications and Flight Control System checkouts.

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Source: www.spaceflight101.com

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