INMARSAT-5 F4 (Falcon 9)
15 May 2017
Space Launch Complex 39A
Kennedy Space Center
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the INMARSAT-5 F4 commercial communications satellite into orbit from Space Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center at 7:21 p.m. on 15 May 2017. INMARSAT-5 F4 is the fourth satellite in the Global Xpress constellation; the world’s first globally available, high speed, mobile broadband service for users on land, at sea, and in the air. The satellite was built by Boeing Network & Space Systems. Due to the weight of the satellite, the first stage did not have enough fuel left over to attempt a landing.
Some late afternoon haze but otherwise clear skies looking toward Space Launch Complex 39A.
A cloud of oxygen vapor from liquid oxygen loading of the Falcon 9 rocket blows through the gantry.
The strongback that transported the Falcon 9 horizontally to the pad and raised the rocket to its vertical launch position begins to retract at ignition, which is barely visible through the bottom of the gantry.
A flock of Roseate Spoonbills flew by in the foreground as the Falcon 9 lifted off.
Note the lone Roseate Spoonbill near the center of the image just to the right of the rocket exhaust.
The last of the Roseate Spoonbills passes by safely.
Note the American flag on the fairing at the top of the rocket seen partially above. In the sequence of images that follow the Falcon 9 performs a roll maneuver to put it on the proper trajectory, which brings the flag into full view.
A sequence of images shows the final moments leading up to main engine cut off and the shutting down of the nine Merlin engines of the first stage prior to first stage separation and second stage ignition.
A surveillance helicopter from Patrick Air Force Bases flies by as the rocket disappears into the sky.
The rocket exhaust cloud drifts away after the launch.
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