SpaceX Launches South Korean Military Satellite ANASIS-II Aboard Falcon 9

SpaceX masterfully launched a South Korean military communications satellite atop a Falcon 9.
Brad Bergan

SpaceX successfully launched a South Korean spacecraft — called ANASIS-II — atop a Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, according to a live stream aired on YouTube.

The ANASIS-II spacecraft is a military communications satellite from and for South Korea, which marks an international extension of SpaceX's service to global military forces.


SpaceX launches ANASIS-II despite weather delay

The primary launch window was from 5:00 PM EDT to 8:00 PM EDT, and the Falcon 9's lower stage is due to land on the "Just Read the Instructions" droneship — waiting in the Atlantic Ocean.

The ANASIS-II spacecraft itself will deploy roughly 32 minutes following liftoff.

UPDATE July 20, 5:41 PM EDT: Falcon 9 successfully lands on 'Just Read the Instructions' droneship

This was the 57th successful landing of a Falcon 9 on the droneship "Just Read the Instructions," according to the launch host on SpaceX's YouTube broadcast.

There launch went forward after a short delay due to less-than-perfect weather conditions, but after launch, the broadcast moved to a tactical display of the second-stage carrying the ANASIS-II military communications satellite from South Korea.

Sadly, the deployment of ANASIS-II itself will not be shown on the live webcast, according to SpaceX's website — however, the broadcast will carry on to give verbal confirmation of the South Korean satellite's successful deployment.

UPDATE July 20, 5:58 PM EDT: Second-stage rocket accelerates ANASIS-II for transfer orbit

SpaceX headquarters came back online roughly T+26 minutes after liftoff (T+26 minutes) of the ANASIS-II military communications satellite from South Korea.

As the spacecraft crossed the equator, the second-stage engine ignited in a blaze of white-hot light. In less than a minute, it added an additioanl 2.5 kilometers per second (1.55 miles per second) to enter geosynchronous transfer orbit.

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They achieved nominal orbit at roughly T+28 minutes. The satellite should deploy at T+32 minutes.

UPDATE July 20, 6:03 PM EDT: ANASIS-II satellite successfully deployed into orbit

Mission avionics confirmed that the South Korean military communications satellite had separated from the second-stage rocket roughly 32 minutes after takeoff.

This was a practically textbook launch for SpaceX — and South Korea — the latter of whom requested the visual record of ANASIS-II's separation from the second stage not be shared publicly, for security reasons.

With every launch adding to SpaceX's unprecedented record of successful launches from a private space company, we can be sure to expect more military- and science-related launches despite the multi-industry disruption of the coronavirus crisis still taking a toll on Earth-bound industries.

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