A SpaceX Falcon 9 on July 20, 2020, launched the Anasis-2 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Credit: SpaceX

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on July 20 launched Anasis-2, South Korea’s first military communications satellite. The rocket lifted off at 5:30 p.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral, Florida,

Less than nine minutes after liftoff the Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean 350 miles east of the launch site.

The payload separated and deployed about 32 minutes after liftoff.

The Anasis-2 telecommunications satellite will operate in geostationary Earth orbit.

This was SpaceX’s 12th launch this year, the 90th flight of a Falcon 9 and the 57th landing of the rocket’s first stage. The booster used in this mission was previously flown in May when it launched Crew Dragon to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board.

SpaceX’s customer for this launch was Lockheed Martin on behalf of the government of South Korea. The Anasis-2 satellite was manufactured in France by Airbus Defence and Space as part of an offset obligation related to a $7 billion sale of U.S. F-35 fighter jets to South Korea in 2014. Under the terms of the deal, F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin agreed to procure a telecommunications satellite for South Korea.

The name Anasis-2 is for Army/Navy/Air Force Satellite Information System. The spacecraft was shipped in mid-June from an Airbus facility in Toulouse to Cape Canaveral. The company built the Anasis-2 with the Eurostar E3000 satellite bus.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...