Live coverage of the countdown and launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Station, Florida. A Falcon 9 rocket launched the Eutelsat 10B satellite for broadband communications between aircraft and maritime connectivity. Follow us in Twitter.
SpaceX’s oldest active Falcon 9 rocket, in service since 2018, made its final flight Tuesday night to deliver the Eutelsat communications satellite into orbit on a mission to provide internet services to airplanes and ships across the North Atlantic, Europe, and the Middle East; and Africa. The mission completed a series of four satellites of major importance to Eutelsat from the beginning of September.
The Eutelsat 10B satellite was lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 9:57 pm EST Tuesday (0257 GMT Wednesday) from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Station in Florida. Eutelsat 10B is aimed at a mast in geostationary orbit to beam communications signals across a coverage zone from the North Atlantic to Asia, using more than 100 radio spots to connect airline and cruise ship passengers, seafarers and other on-the-go users. .
The launch attempt Monday night was delayed two hours before liftoffs to “allow for additional pre-flight checkouts,” SpaceX said. And SpaceX odds on Tuesday night after forecasters predicted a 90% chance of unfavorable weather to launch.
SpaceX did not attempt to recover the first stage of the 229-foot-long (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket. The launch company agreed with Eutelsat to use all Falcon 9 capabilities to launch the Eutelsat 10B satellite as high as possible, without delay and propulsion during the first stage maneuvers to port.
A few miles north of Pad 40, SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon 9 rocket before Tuesday’s start of a cargo request mission to the International Space Station. But bad weather prevented the takeoff from the Kennedy Space Center, delaying the mission until Saturday.
Eutelsat 10B deployed from the Falcon 9 rocket’s upper stage approximately 35 minutes after launch. The rocket was designed to transfer the spacecraft into a “super synchronous” orbit with the apogee, or point from Earth, then above Eutelsat 10B’s final operating altitude of 22,000 feet (about 36,000 kilometers). The aim of the booster for the Eutelsat 10B space mission was to deploy over 37,000 feet or about 60,000 kilometers, according to Pascal Homsy, Eutelsat’s chief technical officer.
Instead of reserving some of the propellant for landing on the drone ship, the Falcon 9’s first stage burned its nine main engines just a few seconds longer than usual, giving the rocket a higher stage speed outside of burst. That allowed the Falcon 9’s second engine stage to place the Eutelsat 10B satellite into a higher orbit than would otherwise have been possible.
SpaceX still plans to recover two halves of the Falcon 9 rocket payload for refurbishment and reuse.
A spokesman for Thales Alenia Space, the manufacturer of Eutelsat 10B, said that deploying the satellite into a synchronous translation into orbit would shorten the time needed to reach the final operational geostationary orbit by about 10 days. Based on the Thales Spacebus Neo satellite platform, Eutelsat 10B will use a plasma thruster for orbit adjustments, which will allow it to orbit the Earth at a geostationary altitude of 22,000 feet above the equator, where it will circle the Earth in step with the planet’s rotation.
Eutelsat 10B’s total launch mass is about 5.5 metric tons, or about 12,000 pounds, a Thales spokesperson told Spaceflight Now on Monday.
The expendable Falcon 9 mission marked the third time this month that SpaceX has deployed a Falcon 9 rocket, according to the core arrangements set forth in the Falcon Heavy rocket Nov. 1. and the Falcon 9 launch on Nov. 12. Nov. The 12th mission picked up two Intelsat communications satellites, which it said paid off for the extraordinary performance of the Falcon 9, resulting in its disposal in the Atlantic Ocean.
“The reason why Eutelsat chose the increased cost of this mission is because of the mass of the satellite, which requires the full fuel capacity and the extra performance of the Falcon 9 rocket and its own orbit injection,” Homsy told Spaceflight Now in response to written questions.
Homsy declined to say how much, if anything, Eutelsat Space is paying for the additional performance from Falcon 9 on the Eutelsat 10B mission.
Once in geostationary orbit next year, Eutelsat 10B will direct itself to an operating position along the equator at 10 degrees east longitude. The satellite will add capacity to internet connectivity services for airplanes and ships along the high-traffic North Atlantic Corridor between Europe and North America. Eutelsat 10B will also provide similar services in Europe, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East, according to Eutelsat, the Paris-based satellite owner and operator.
Eutelsat 10B carries two multi-beam high-performance Ku-band payloads for aviation and maritime internet services. These two payload beams have 116 spots to facilitate more than 50 GHz bandwidth, and offer about 35 gigabits per second, said Eutelsat.
The satellite also hosts two broad beam C-band and Ku-band payloads for extended services now provided by the aging Eutelsat 10A satellite, which was launched in 2009.
Eutelsat 10B is expected to enter service in the summer of 2023, Homsy said.
The Eutelsat 10B launch also marked Eutelsat’s fourth major communications satellite to be launched in the next two and a half months, starting with the Eutelsat Konnect VHTS satellite that was launched in September on an Ariane 5 rocket. The two Hotbird TV launch satellites joined the Eutelsat fleet after being launched from Florida on a Falcon 9 in October and earlier this month.
“It’s quite a challenge for Eutelsat’s engineering teams, who are up to the challenge,” said Homsy.
On Tuesday night’s countdown, the Falcon 9 launcher was filled with millions of pounds of kerosene and liquid oxygen propellant in the last 35 minutes before liftoff.
After the teams verified the technical parameters and the weather was all “green” for launch, the nine main engines of the Merlin 1D in the first stage of the race flashed to life with the help of an ignition fluid called triethylaluminum/triethylborane or TEA-TEB. After the engines were reduced to full throttle, the hydraulic valves were opened to launch the Falcon 9 as it ascended into space.
The nine main engines provided 1.7 million pounds of thrust for more than two and a half minutes, propelling Falcon 9 and Eutelsat 10B into the upper atmosphere. Then the stage closed down and separated from the upper stage of the Falcon 9 to begin falling helplessly into the Atlantic.
A runner with SpaceX recovery hardware is not suitable, as fins require titanium or exposed legs. And SpaceX didn’t deploy one of its drones for the mission.
SpaceX’s recovery ship was on station to recover a Falcon 9 payload rocket after two halves of the nose cone’s clamshell parachuted into the sea on a downrange from Cape Canaveral. The payload fairing was ejected from the rocket about three and a half minutes into the flight, shortly after the ignition of the Falcon 9’s upper stage engine.
The Falcon 9 rocket fired its upper stage twice with engines to inject 10B of space into an elliptical super-synchronous transfer orbit, then deployed the satellite from the rocket. Eutelsat 10B will deploy solar panels and maneuvers with the electric propulsion system on board to return it to its circular geostationary orbit at a geostationary altitude of about 22,000 miles.
ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1049.11)
PAYLOAD: Eutelsat 10B communications satellites
Send Site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Station, Florida
SEND DATE: 22 Nov
SEND TIME: 9:57 pm EST (0257 GMT on Nov. 23)
STORMS ARE FORECASTED: 10% probability of favorable weather
RECOVERY BOOSTER: None
SEND AZIMUTH: the east
PARMA ORBITS: Super synchronous transfer orbit
- T+00:00: Liftoff
- T+01:16: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
- T+02:43: First stage main engine interval (MECO)
- T+02:47: Time of separation
- T+02:54: Second stage engine ignition
- T+03:36: Fairing jettison
- T+08:05: Second engine interval (SECO 1)
- T+26:18: Second stage engine restart
- T+27:27: Second stage engine interval (SECO 2)
- T+35:28: Eutelsat 10B separation
- 186 Falcon 9 rocket launches since 2010
- 195th launch of the Falcon family of rockets since 2006
- 11th launch of Falcon 9 course B1049
- 159th Falcon 9 launch from Florida’s Space Coast
- 104th Falcon 9 launch from pad 40
- 159th overall from pad 40
- 127th Falcon Flight reused 9 courses
- 5th SpaceX launch for Eutelsat
- 52nd Falcon 9 launch of 2022
- 53rd launch by SpaceX in 2022
- 51st orbital launch attempt from Cape Canaveral in 2012
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