In addition to a second rocket landing at sea, SpaceX put a Japanese satellite in geosynchronous transfer orbit.


As you likely already know, SpaceX made news last night/early this morning when they successfully launched and landed a Falcon 9 rocket on a barge at sea. Their second successful recovery at sea and their third rocket landing overall, the landing elicited cheers from SpaceX employees and gleeful squeals of delight from people watching at home.

▼ And blew up Twitter with this photo.

Perhaps one of the biggest reason for the popularity of SpaceX is its openness to sharing copious amounts of dazzling videos and photos with the public. Sometimes it results in everyone getting to see one of their rockets explode as it tries to land, and other times it provides gorgeous images. After all, who could complain about something that looks this awesome?

▼ Feel free to make the “whooooosh” noises yourself.


But in all the excitement about the launch and landing of the Falcon 9 rocket, we started to wonder — just what was SpaceX putting into space?!

▼ Beside awesome photo opportunities.



As it turns out, the satellite was JCSAT-14, a communications satellite owned by Tokyo-based telecommunications company SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation. The satellite is actually going to be replacing an older satellite and will be positioned in geosynchronous orbit so as to offer communications service to Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, including Russia and even Hawaii.

▼ But first, it rode off into the…sun?


The satellite weighed nearly 4,700 kilograms (about 10,360 pounds) at launch, a large part of which was fuel. Though SpaceX got the satellite to space, JCSAT-14 will “circularize” its orbit itself under its own power. Once testing is completed, the new satellite will begin operation and is expected to be in service for 15 years.

In case you missed the launch/landing/deployment live, you can watch it all with the YouTube clip below! It’s a bit long, though, so you may want to skip around a bit.

Fortunately, it looks like everyone was able to avoid the animated infighting we saw in the 2013 promotional video for NASA and JAXA’s DPR-equipped satellite. Though, if SpaceX is looking to hire some engineers from Japan, they should definitely consider taking a page from the JSDF recruitment book.

Sources: Twitter/SpaceX, SpaceX, SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, SatBeams, NASA Space FlightYouTube/SpaceX
Featured image: Flickr/SpaceX
Images: Twitter/SpaceX