SpaceX launches Airbus-built TV broadcasting spacecraft for Eutelsat – Spaceflight Now


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 1:22 a.m. EDT (0522 GMT) Thursday with the Hotbird 13G communications satellite tv for pc. Credit score: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

SpaceX launched the second in a sequence of three Falcon 9 rocket missions early Thursday for the European satellite tv for pc operator Eutelsat, delivering to orbit a tv broadcasting satellite tv for pc that additionally hosts an EU-funded payload to offer exact navigation information to airplanes.

After a two-hour delay, the Falcon 9 rocket ignited its 9 Merlin foremost engines and climbed away from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral House Drive Station at 1:22 a.m. EDT (0522 GMT) Thursday to start a 36-minute mission to deploy Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13G communications satellite tv for pc into an elongated switch orbit stretching so far as 35,700 miles (57,500 kilometers) from Earth.

Hotbird 13G separated from the Falcon 9 rocket because it soared over Africa. The brand new communications satellite tv for pc accomplished preliminary post-launch activation steps, in response to Eutelsat, and can use on-board plasma thrusters to maneuver to its operational orbit hovering greater than 22,000 miles (practically 36,000 kilometers) over the equator.

The Falcon 9 mission early Thursday occurred lower than two days after SpaceX launched a Falcon Heavy rocket, the world’s strongest lively launcher, from a launch pad at Kennedy House Heart just a few miles north of Cape Canaveral House Drive Station. The Falcon Heavy deployed two foremost satellite tv for pc payloads into geosynchronous orbit for the U.S. House Drive.

It was the fourth flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, and the primary Falcon Heavy launch in additional than three years. With that mission within the books, SpaceX’s consideration turned again to the corporate’s workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9, with a business satellite tv for pc supply flight for Eutelsat.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket headed east from Cape Canaveral with its 9 engines producing 1.7 million kilos of thrust. After hovering by means of a damaged deck of clouds, the Falcon 9 shed its first stage booster about two-and-a-half minutes into the flight, whereas a second stage engine took over to energy Hotbird 13G into orbit.

Two burns by the higher stage engine propelled the Hotbird 13G spacecraft into an on-target “supersynchronous” switch orbit, with an apogee, or excessive level, far above the satellite tv for pc’s last working altitude. The Falcon 9 launched Hotbird 13G into an orbit with a perigee, or low level, round 255 miles (410 kilometers), and an inclination of 27.7 levels to the equator, in response to U.S. army monitoring information.

Hotbird 13G, which weighed about 10,000 kilos (4.5 metric tons) at launch, separated from the Falcon 9’s higher stage round 36 minutes into the mission. A reside digital camera view from the rocket confirmed the spacecraft flying freed from the higher stage. The satellite tv for pc will maneuver from its present elliptical orbit to a round geosynchronous orbit over the subsequent few months. Eutelsat expects Hotbird 13G to be prepared for business tv broadcast providers round mid-2023.

The primary stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket prolonged hypersonic grid fins and reignited three of its engines for a braking burn throughout re-entry again into the environment. The reusable booster — designated B1067 in SpaceX’s fleet — lit its middle engine for a last touchdown burn to settle onto the deck of a SpaceX drone ship within the Atlantic Ocean. The touchdown accomplished the booster’s seventh journey to area, and the drone ship will convey the rocket again to Cape Canaveral for refurbishment and preparations for a future flight.

The launch Thursday morning was the 51st mission of the 12 months for SpaceX, and the forty eighth area launch try from Florida’s House Coast to date in 2022. Each are data.

Hotbird 13G’s deployment follows the launch of a twin satellite tv for pc named Hotbird 13F, which rode a Falcon 9 rocket into orbit from Cape Canaveral on Oct. 15.

Hotbird 13G is the second satellite tv for pc constructed on the brand new Eurostar Neo spacecraft platform designed by Airbus Protection and House, with funding assist from the European House Company. The Eurostar Neo satellite tv for pc design can accommodate extra payload capability, and introduces extra environment friendly energy and thermal management methods than the earlier era of Eurostar E3000 Airbus-built satellites.

The Hotbird 13F satellite tv for pc launched final month was the primary to make use of the brand new Eurostar Neo spacecraft design.

“It’s an enormous new product, payload centric, extra aggressive than something we now have ever executed,” stated François Gaullier, head of telecommunications satellites at Airbus, in a press convention final month.

ESA offered about 130 million euros, or $126 million at present alternate charges, to assist pay for growth of the brand new satellite tv for pc platform. Airbus funded the remainder of the event value with its personal cash underneath the umbrella of a public-private partnership.

Eutelsat was the primary buyer to enroll in the brand new spacecraft design, inking a contract in 2018 for Airbus to construct the Hotbird 13F and 13G on the Eurostar Neo platform.

Thus far, Airbus has bought eight satellites primarily based on the brand new Eurostar Neo platform, together with Hotbird 13F and 13G. Different prospects for the Eurostar Neo satellite tv for pc design embody the UK Ministry of Protection, which signed a contract with Airbus to construct a safe army communications satellite tv for pc on the brand new spacecraft platform.

Airbus delivered the Hotbird 13G spacecraft from its manufacturing facility in Toulouse, France, to Kennedy House Heart on Oct. 15, hours after the launch of its sister ship Hotbird 13F. One in every of Airbus’s giant Beluga cargo airplanes, usually used to haul Airbus airplane components between manufacturing websites in Europe, ferried the Hotbird 13G satellite tv for pc from France to america.

Hotbird 13G, like Hotbird 13F, will orbit in lock-step with Earth’s rotation at 13 levels east longitude.

Due to enhancements in satellite tv for pc communications expertise, Eutelsat will solely want two new Hotbird satellites to interchange the three growing older Hotbird spacecraft working at 13 levels east.

Pascal Homsy, Eutelsat’s chief technical officer, stated the Hotbird fleet at 13 levels east type the very best capability satellite tv for pc broadcasting system protecting the Europe, Center East, and North Africa areas, delivering 1,000 TV channels to greater than 160 million properties. Hotbird 13F and 13G will broadcast indicators in Ku-band frequencies.

“We have now one thing like over 600 pay TV channels, 300 free to air channels, 450 excessive definition TV, and 14 extremely excessive definition channels broadcast from this flagship 13 levels east place,” Homsy stated final month earlier than the launch of Hotbird 13F. “We’re in a position additionally to offer 500 radio stations and multimedia providers.”

Artist’s idea of the Hotbird 13F and 13G satellites with their photo voltaic panels and antennas unfurled in orbit. Credit score: Airbus

Hotbird 13G additionally hosts a geosynchronous orbit node for the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System, or EGNOS, to beam GPS and Galileo navigation augmentation indicators to enhance place accuracy and reliability. The EGNOS indicators present extra navigation information to be used by pilots throughout essential flight phases, equivalent to last method and touchdown.

The European Union Company for the House Program awarded Eutelsat a 15-year deal in 2021 to accommodate the EGNOS payload on Hotbird 13G. The contract was valued at 100 million euros ($97 million). The addition of the EGNOS payload is the principle distinction between Hotbird 13G and its predecessor Hotbird 13F.

Apart from aviation, EGNOS indicators are utilized in precision farming, surveying and mapping, rail transport, and by the maritime sector to assist ships navigate by means of slender channels.

The launch of Hotbird 13G is the second in a sequence of three Falcon 9 flights for Eutelsat. The Eutelsat 10B communications satellite tv for pc, designed to offer in-flight web connectivity to airline passengers, was delivered from Europe to Cape Canaveral by boat final week for a launch on a Falcon 9 rocket later this month.

SpaceX’s subsequent launch is scheduled from Cape Canaveral on Nov. 8, when a Falcon 9 rocket will deploy two Intelsat tv broadcasting satellites. The Falcon 9 booster on the subsequent launch won’t be recovered, permitting the rocket to commit all of its propellant to powering Intelsat’s Galaxy 31 and 32 satellites into orbit.

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Observe Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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