Tech Transformers

Elon Musk's SpaceX launches its heaviest satellite yet but didn't try to re-land the Falcon 9 rocket

Key Points
  • SpaceX launched an Inmarsat satellite using a Falcon 9 rocket, the heaviest payload yet.
  • The satellite is bigger than a double-decker bus.

SpaceX launched its heaviest satellite yet into orbit on Monday but did not pull off the signature re-landing of the rocket because of the weight of the payload.

Elon Musk's space company used a Falcon 9 rocket to send the 6,100 kilogram Inmarsat-5 F4 satellite into orbit. It is bigger than a double-decker bus and required SpaceX to increase the capacity of its Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket makes its first successful upright landing on the 'Of Course I Still Love You' droneship on April 8, 2016 some 200 miles off shore in the Atlantic Ocean after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Getty Images

Usually, Space X lands the rocket back on earth after it has released its payload into space. But because of the size of this launch, the company was unable to do that.

The satellite is part of a constellation backed by $1.6 billion in investment by Inmarsat that aims to provide high-speed broadband to government customers and those in the aviation and maritime industries. For example, it is working with airlines to bring onboard Wi-Fi to passengers.

It is seen as a success for SpaceX which is continuing to gain traction with large customers as well as increase the frequency of its launches, despite one of its rockets exploding last year during a test. Inmarsat's mission was SpaceX's second launch in just two weeks and the next launch is scheduled in another two weeks.

Even though the rocket could not be reused for the Inmarsat missions, SpaceX has proven that its technology works. In March, Musk's firm launched a previously used portion of a Falcon 9.