The HispaSat 30W-6 satellite thunders to orbit atop the 50th Falcon9 launched by SpaceX. Photo credit: Michael Seeley / We Report Space
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA: SpaceX’s landmark 50th Falcon 9 launch, lifting HispaSat 30W-6 to orbit took place shortly after midnight on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 from Space Launch Complex 40. Marked as the heaviest satellite that SpaceX has lifted to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), HispaSat 30W-6 replaces the 30W-4 satellite covering the Mediterranean Sea and provides new Ka-, Ku- and C-band transponder service to Europe and Latin America over the next 15 years.
About GTO Launches
Satellites targeting a final Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) or Geosynchronous Orbit ultimately wind up appearing in a fixed position over the globe, as their orbital speed matches the rotation of the Earth. In order to limit space debris in the form of expended rocket stages from cluttering up these orbital locations, launch provides, such as SpaceX, will perform a launch to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). A GTO launch places the satellite in an orbit which allows the onboard engines & propellant of the satellite itself to finalize its position in space, while leaving the rocket’s second stage in an elliptical orbit around ...