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SpaceX Launches Communications Satellite, Lands Booster

EchoStar 105/SES-11 is a high-powered hybrid Ku and C-band communications satellite that was launched as a dual-mission satellite for US-based operator EchoStar and Luxembourg-based operator SES.

The EchoStar 105/SES-11 satellite took off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in southern state of Florida on Wednesday, a live webcast showed, Xinhua news agency reported. It was the third time that SpaceX had flown a previously used 1st stage, and the 15th launch this year (with another half-dozen likely by year-end). The astonishing thing is that SpaceX managed to recover the re-used satellite by successfully soft landing it back on Earth on a drone-ship platform prepositioned hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. The satellite offers comprehensive coverage over North America, including Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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SES-11 is created to accelerate the development of the US Prime video neighbourhood and the delivery of high definition (HD) and ultra-high definition (UHD) channels. It'll provide Ku-band communication services through EchoStar for commercial and USA government customers, as well as high-definition and ultra-high-def video service through SES in the C-band part of the spectrum.

Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer of SES, said, "The successful launch of SES-11 further strengthens the centre of SES's North American orbital arc and enables us to continue to provide a premium C-band service to the leading cable operators across the US". Last month, SpaceX billionaire founder Elon Musk announced plans to build a fully reusable BFR ("Big Falcon Rocket") that could facilitate passenger trips around the world and to the moon and Mars.



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