On Thursday, February 21, SpaceX launched the Nusantara Satu satellite. Seperately, Falcon 9 delivered the Beresheet lunar spacecraft and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) S5 spacecraft to orbit.
The Falcon 9 used for the mission landed on SpaceX’s drone ship, despite traveling through rough weather conditions. The landing marks the third successful touchdown of this particular rocket, and SpaceX CEO Elon Mu Its first-stage rocket successfully touching down on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You minutes after launch.
SSL built the Nusantara Satu satellite for PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN), an Asian provider of satellite-based telecommunication services. Nusantara Satu is Indonesia’s first high-throughput satellite that will serve to improve internet connectivity in the region. Additionally, the satellite’s C-band andKu-band transponders will be used for voice and data communications and video distribution throughout the Indonesian archipelago. In order to bring a secondary payload to orbit, SSL designed Nusantara Satu using its next-generation electric propulsion system.
The launch demonstrates SSL’s ability to take small rideshare satellites to geostationary orbit efficiently and economically.
SpaceIL’s lunar spacecraft Beresheet (Hebrew for “in the beginning”), which competed in the Google Lunar XPrize, will be the smallest spacecraft to ever land on the Moon, at only 1,322 lbs, or 600 kgs. Upon deployment, it will travel to the Moonusingits own power, a voyage that will takenearly two months. Once it arrives, Beresheet will be Israel’s first spacecraft and the world’s first privately-funded spacecraft to reach the Moon. Its mission is to transmit photos and video of its new home and conduct scientific measurements.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) S5 experimental small spacecraft, developedand integrated by Blue Canyon Technologies, will carry out a one-year mission. The S5 mission leverages commercial advances and services in a rapid demonstration of small satellite capabilities.
Last September, SpaceX announced a plan to send wealthy people around the moon; the first one revealed was Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa. He plans to help recruit a crew of artists, musicians and designers to accompany him.
To get there, SpaceX plans to use its conceptual BFR rocket -- the larger successor to the Falcon Heavy rocket whose demonstration flight in 2018 featured a mannequin "driving" a red Tesla Roadster.