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45th SW successfully launches first Turkmenistan satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (AFNS) -- For the second time in a 14-day span, the 45th Space Wing conducted a successful launch on the Eastern Range from Launch Complex 40 April 27.

On April 13, the 45th SW supported Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) launch with the company's sixth resupply mission to the International Space Station.

During the mission, Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral AFS supported the SpaceX launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat 1 communications satellite. The Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed from the ground up by SpaceX for the reliable and cost-efficient transport of satellites and SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft.

A combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th SW provided support to the mission, including weather forecasts, launch and range operations, security, safety and public affairs.

The communications satellite, which was built by Thales Alenia Space, will reach a geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles over the equator.

"Once operational in orbit, TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat will allow Turkmenistan to operate its first national satellite telecommunications system, ensuring enhanced, secure telecommunications for the country," Thales posted on their company's website.

The satellite will reach users across Central Asia, Europe and Africa.

SpaceX officials said they were pleased with the launch.

"Today's mission marks the 18th successful launch in a row for Falcon 9," said Gwynne Shotwell, the SpaceX president and chief operating officer. "With our increased cadence of both commercial and government launches out of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX greatly appreciates the continued support of the 45th Space Wing as a critical mission partner in launching satellites and spacecraft for our customers from across the globe."

Col. Shawn Fairhurst, the 45th Space Wing vice commander, who also served as the launch decision authority for this mission, lauded the efforts of SpaceX, Thales Alenia Space, and all the mission partners who once again made this mission a success.

"Our ability to be successful during this this very busy op-tempo, and to do so successfully time and time again, speaks volumes about our proven operational processes and the fantastic partnerships we have forged with our launch providers here on the space coast," he said.

"One hundred percent mission success is the only grade that matters when it comes to launching rockets safely, and Team Patrick-Cape and our entire space team, do it better than anyone else," Fairhurst said.

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