SpaceX has launched the Telstar 18 VANTAGE satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US.

Launched onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the satellite was deployed around 32 minutes after lift-off.

After stage separation, the first stage of the rocket landed back on Earth on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship positioned in the Atlantic Ocean.

Telstar 18 VANTAGE, which has a launch mass of 7,011kg, is the third high-throughput satellite (HTS) to be operated by Telesat.

Manufactured by SSL, the satellite is expected to enter commercial service once it completes orbit raising and comprehensive in-orbit testing.

“Telstar 18 VANTAGE is the latest example of how Telesat’s innovative payload designs provide our customers with the advantages they need to compete successfully in today’s satellite service markets.”

Set to replace and expand the capabilities of Telstar 18 satellite, Telstar 18 VANTAGE will serve Asia and the Americas with its Ku-band and C-band capacity, as well as Indonesia and Malaysia with Ku-band HTS spot beams.

The satellite also features five additional regional Ku-band beams.

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Telesat President and CEO Dan Goldberg said: “Telstar 18 VANTAGE is the latest example of how Telesat’s innovative payload designs provide our customers with the advantages they need to compete successfully in today’s satellite service markets.

“Telstar 18 VANTAGE is a state-of-the art spacecraft that not only replaces Telstar 18, a satellite in wide use across Asia and the Pacific, but brings far greater capabilities including Ku-band mobility coverage and HTS spot beams that will allow Telesat to grow our presence in the region.”

Telstar 18 VANTAGE will operate from an orbital position of 138° East to provide satellite broadband services to several customers in the aero and maritime sectors, among others.