South Korean communications satellite launched by SpaceX

SpaceX launched South Korea’s first communications satellite to be dedicated for military use Monday evening from Florida.

A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off as planned at 5:30 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station into a partly cloudy sky and headed over the Atlantic Ocean. The mission had been postponed twice over the last week.

SpaceX confirmed the satellite deployed at 32 minutes, 49 seconds into the flight.

SpaceX successfully recovered the first stage booster of rocket, which landed on a barge in the ocean about 350 miles east of the launch site. The booster is the same one that launched astronauts to the International Space Station on May 31.

Two recovery ships were to attempt recovery of the fairings, or halves of the rocket nose cone, after they fell back into the ocean.

As a military project, few details about the satellite — ANASIS 2 — have been released. The name stands for Army, Navy, Air Force Satellite Information System.

South Korea launched a similar satellite in 2013, but it didn’t deploy properly and was lost, said Kaitlyn Johnson, associate director at non-profit Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

This launch is part of a global expansion of the space industry, particularly for smaller nations, she said.

Johnson said the satellite most likely will be positioned directly over the Korean Peninsula, providing secure communications for troops.

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