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THAICOM 6 MISSION OVERVIEW
On January 6, 2014, SpaceX successfully launched the THAICOM 6 satellite for Asian satellite operator THAICOM.
Falcon 9 lifted off from SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral launch site at 5:06 PM Eastern Time, with 9 Merlin 1D engines putting out 1.3 million pounds of thrust.
The first stage performed as expected, reaching 1.5 million pounds of thrust once in the vacuum of space.
The stage fired for approximately 175 seconds before separating from the second stage. Shortly after, Falcon 9’s second-stage Merlin vacuum engine ignited to begin a five minute, 35 second burn that delivered the THAICOM 6 satellite into its parking orbit.
Eighteen minutes after injection into the parking orbit, the second stage engine relit for just over one minute to carry the THAICOM 6 satellite to its final geosynchronous transfer orbit.
THAICOM 6 was injected into a perfect 295 x 90,000 km geosynchronous transfer orbit at 22.5 degrees inclination, meeting 100% of mission objectives.
The THAICOM 6 mission marks Falcon 9’s second flight to a geosynchronous transfer orbit and begins a regular cadence of launches planned for SpaceX in 2014. SpaceX has nearly 50 launches on manifest, of which over 60% are for commercial customers.
This launch also marks the third of three qualification flights needed to certify the Falcon 9 to fly missions under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. Once Falcon 9 is certified, SpaceX will be eligible to compete to launch national security satellites for the U.S. Air Force.