US rocket company SpaceX has performed its first dual-satellite mission.
The firm’s Falcon 9 vehicle put up two telecommunications spacecraft on Monday (GMT) – one for Eutelsat and one for the Asia Broadcast Satellite operator.
Both spacecraft will use electric engines to get into their final orbital positions 36,000km above the equator.
The use of this type of propulsion – which accelerates xenon ions to provide thrust – is seen as a big trend in spacecraft design and deployment.
The performance required by the Falcon to launch the two satellites on Monday meant that it could not, on this occasion, make another attempt to land its first stage.
This is the third successful launch in the last 50 days for Spacex.
SOURCES – BBC News, Spacex
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