SpaceX Launches Intelsat Satellites into Orbit, Expends Falcon 9 First Stage

SpaceX on Saturday launched Intelsat’s Galaxy-31 and Galaxy-32 satellites to a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) aboard a flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The rocket lifted off at 11:06 a.m. ET/8:06 a.m. PT in what was SpaceX’s 52nd mission of 2022. This launch was originally slated for November 8, but it was delayed in light of Hurricane Nicole.

SpaceX confirmed the deployment of the Intelsat G-32 satellite at approximately 11:40 a.m. ET/8:40 a.m. PT. About five minutes later, the G-32 satellite was also deployed to orbit.

The Falcon 9 booster used for this mission, B1051-14, was a veteran of 13 previous launches. It also supported the Dragon capsule’s first crew demonstration mission, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM-7, and 10 different Starlink missions.

This launch marked B1051-14’s fourteenth and final mission. While SpaceX typically retrieves first-stage Falcon 9 boosters after they separate from the rocket, Intelsat paid the company extra to instead use that fuel to send the rocket farther and expend its first stage. This was SpaceX’s first expendable Falcon 9 flight since January 2022.

You can watch SpaceX’s full Intelsat G-31/G-32 launch in the video below:

SpaceX has now flown a total of three missions for Intelsat. Last month, the company launched Intelsat’s G-33 and G-34 satellites into orbit.

Earlier this week, SpaceX delayed its Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS)  for NASA to November 21 due to Hurricane Nicole.