Falcon 9 successfully launched TurkmenÄlem52E/MonacoSat!

On April 27, 2015, SpaceX conducted successful launch of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle with TurkmenÄlem52E/MonacoSat telecommunications satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

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TurkmenAlem52E official mission patch

This mission was the second SpaceX's launch in less than two weeks, after successful launch to the International Space Station (ISS) of Falcon 9 with the sixth official Commercial Resupply Services' (CRS) Dragon cargo spacecraft on April 14. Contrary to CRS-6 mission, this time SpaceX has not attempted to softly land Falcon 9's first stage due to parameters of the launch (higher orbit requires more rocket operation time, therefore it is left not enough fuel needed for soft re-entry).

Falcon 9 launches TurkmenAlem52E satellite
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TurkmenÄlem52E/MonacoSat is a communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space on Spacebus 4000 C2 platform for the Government of Turkmenistan. It weighs more than 4,500 kg and is equipped with 38 active Ku-band transponders. Satellite's design life exceeds 15 years, and its coverage zone encompasses Europe, Central Asia (up to the Chinese border), and virtually all of Africa.

Once operational in orbit, TurkmenÄlem52E/MonacoSat will allow Turkmenistan to operate its first national satellite telecommunications system, ensuring enhanced, secure telecommunications for the country. The Turkmenistan Ministry of Communications will use Monaco's 52°E orbital position, operating the spacecraft via Monaco-based satellite operator Space Systems International – Monaco (SSI-Monaco).

Originally scheduled for launch aboard Chinese Long March-3B rocket, the satellite in June 2013 was moved to SpaceX' Falcon-9 launch. Due to changes made to ITAR, the move was required, since some US-made parts could no longer be exported to China for mission preparation, Gunter's Space Page informs.

The next space launch for SpaceX will be launch of Falcon 9 with Dragon cargo spaceship to the ISS within CRS-7 mission, originally scheduled for June 19, 2015. Before that, SpaceX plans to conduct pad abort test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft. This test, that will simulate an emergency abort from a test stand on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, currently is scheduled for no earlier than May 5.

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