In Photos: SpaceX Launches Koreasat-5A Satellite, Lands Falcon 9 Rocket

Ready to Launch


On Oct. 30, 2017, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soared into space to deliver the Koreasat-5A communications satellite into orbit, then land a first-stage booster back on Earth. See the launch as it happened in photos in our gallery here.

This image: The SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying Koreasat-5A stands atop its launchpad at Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Falcon 9 and Koreasat-5A Lift Off


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Koreasat-5A communications satellite lifts off on Oct. 30, 2017.

Clearing the Tower


The Falcon 9 rocket and its payload clear the tower.

Falcon 9 Arcs Toward Orbit


The Falcon 9 curves toward space on Oct. 30, 2017.

Pillar of Fire


The Falcon 9 rides a pillar of fire provided by its nine first-stage Merlin engines.

A Tale of Two Stages


The Falcon 9 first stage (left) heads back to Earth for a landing while the second stage continues to power Koreasat-5A toward geostationary transfer orbit.

Falcon 9 First Stage on Drone Ship Deck


The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 sits on the deck of the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” shortly after launching the Koreasat-5A satellite on Oct. 30, 2017.

Fire Out


A fire smoldered on the Falcon 9 first stage shortly after it landed, but SpaceX quickly put it out.

Koreasat-5A Deployed


The Falcon 9 second stage deploys Koreasat-5A into geostationary transfer orbit.

SpaceX Koreasat-5A Mission Emblem


The mission emblem for SpaceX's successful Koreasat-5A communications satellite launch for customer KT Sat of South Korea.

SpaceX Faclon 9 rocket launch


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Koreasat-5A communications satellite into orbit from Pad 39A of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Oct. 30, 2017.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.