SpaceX checks Falcon 9 launch attempt with Eutelsat satellite – Spaceflight Now

Live streaming of the countdown and launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Eutelsat 10B broadband communications satellite for aviation and maritime communications. Follow us Twitter.

SpaceX’s oldest active Falcon 9 booster, which has been in service since 2018, is scheduled to make its final flight Tuesday night to deliver the Eutelsat broadband communications satellite into orbit on a mission to provide Internet services to aircraft and ships across the North Atlantic, Europe, Europe, United States . Middle East and Africa. The mission will complete four major satellite launches for Eutelsat from early September.

The Eutelsat 10B satellite is set to lift off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 9:57 p.m. EST Tuesday (0257 GMT Wednesday) from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Eutelsat 10B is headed for a perch in geostationary orbit to transmit communications signals across a coverage area from the North Atlantic to Asia, using more than 100 spot beams to connect airline and cruise ship passengers, sea crews and other users en route. .

SpaceX said Monday night’s launch attempt was cleared hours before takeoff to “allow for additional pre-flight checks.”

SpaceX will not recover the first stage of the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket. The launch company has a contract with Eutelsat to devote all of the Falcon 9’s lift capacity to sending the Eutelsat 10B satellite into as high an orbit as possible without having to store first-stage fuel for landing maneuvers.

According to the official forecast by the US Space Force’s 45th Airlift Squadron, there is only a 20% chance of favorable weather for a launch Tuesday night.

A few miles north of pad 40, SpaceX is preparing a different Falcon 9 rocket for Tuesday’s launch from Kennedy Space Center on a resupply mission to the International Space Station. The weather forecast for that launch, set for Tuesday at 15:54 EST (2054 GMT), also calls for a 30% chance of acceptable conditions for the flight.

Eutelsat 10B will be deployed from the upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket about 35 minutes after launch. The rocket will aim to launch the spacecraft into a “super-synchronous” transfer orbit with apogee, or farthest point from Earth, well above Eutelsat 10B’s final operating altitude of 22,000 miles (about 36,000 kilometers). According to Pascal Homsi, Eutelsat’s chief technical officer, the target apogee for the Eutelsat 10B mission during spacecraft deployment will be above 37,000 miles, or about 60,000 kilometers.

Instead of reserving some of its fuel for landing on the drone ship, the Falcon 9’s first stage booster will fire its nine main engines a few seconds longer than usual, giving the rocket’s upper stage an extra boost. This will allow the Falcon 9’s second stage engine to place the Eutelsat 10B satellite into a higher orbit than would otherwise be possible.

SpaceX still plans to buy two halves of the Falcon 9 payload section for repair and reuse.

Artist’s concept of the Eutelsat 10B satellite with antennas and orbiting solar arrays. Credit: Thales Alenia Space

A spokesman for Eutelsat 10B maker Thales Alenia Space said placing the satellite into a supersynchronous transfer orbit would shorten the time it would take to reach its final operational geostationary orbit by about 10 days. Eutelsat 10B, based on Thales’ Spacebus Neo satellite platform, will use plasma thrusters for the orbital adjustments necessary to bring it into a circular orbit at a geostationary altitude of 22,000 miles above the equator, where it will circle the Earth in rotational step as the planet rotates.

Eutelsat 10B has a total launch mass of about 5.5 metric tons, or about 12,000 pounds, a Thales spokesperson told Spaceflight Now on Monday.

The spent Falcon 9 mission will be the third time this month that SpaceX has fired a Falcon rocket booster after the main stage was accidentally ejected on its Falcon Heavy rocket. 1 and the Falcon 9 booster on a mission in November. 12. November. The 12 mission lifted two communications satellites for Intelsat, which said the Falcon 9 paid a premium for its extra performance, resulting in the disposal of the booster in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The reason Eutelsat chose an expendable booster for this mission is due to the full fuel capacity and additional performance of the Falcon 9 rocket and the mass of the satellite, which requires proper orbital injection,” Homsi told Spaceflight Now. written questions.

Homsy declined to say how much it paid SpaceX for extra performance from the Falcon 9 on the Eutelsat 10B mission.

After entering geostationary orbit next year, Eutelsat 10B will align itself to an operational position at 10 degrees east longitude along the equator. The satellite will add capacity for Internet connectivity services for aircraft and ships along the high-traffic North Atlantic corridor between Europe and North America. According to Paris-based satellite owner and operator Eutelsat, Eutelsat 10B will provide similar services in Europe, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East.

Eutelsat 10B carries two multi-beam high Ku-band payloads for aeronautical and maritime Internet services. The two payloads have 116 spot beams capable of processing more than 50 GHz of bandwidth, offering a total of about 35 gigabits per second, Eutelsat said.

The satellite also has two wide beam C-band and Ku-band payloads to extend the services provided by the older Eutelsat 10A satellite launched in 2009.

Eutelsat 10B is scheduled to enter service in the summer of 2023, Homsi said.

Eutelsat 10B communications satellite at the antenna test range at Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France. Credit: Eutelsat

The launch of Eutelsat 10B is the fourth major Eutelsat communications satellite launched in the past two and a half months, starting with the Eutelsat Konnect VHTS satellite launched on an Ariane 5 rocket in September. Two Hotbird TV broadcast satellites joined Eutelsat’s fleet after they were launched on Falcon 9 rockets from Florida in October and earlier this month.

“It’s quite a challenge for Eutelsat’s engineering teams, which have stood the test of time,” said Homsy.

During Tuesday night’s countdown, the Falcon 9 launcher will be filled with one million pounds of kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants in the final 35 minutes before liftoff.

Assuming the teams confirm the technical and weather parameters are “green” for launch, the nine Merlin 1D main engines in the first stage booster will be ignited using an ignition fluid called triethylaluminum/triethylborane, or TEA-TEB. Once the engines are in full throttle, the hydraulic clamps will open to release the Falcon 9 to climb into space.

Nine main engines will propel Falcon 9 and Eutelsat 10B into the upper atmosphere, producing 1.7 million pounds of thrust for more than two and a half minutes. The booster stage will then shut down and separate from the Falcon 9’s upper stage to begin its uncontrolled descent into the Atlantic Ocean.

The booster is not equipped with SpaceX’s recovery equipment such as titanium mesh wings or landing legs. And SpaceX did not deploy one of its drone ships for the expendable mission.

SpaceX is expected to try to recover the payload of the Falcon 9 rocket. Shortly after the Falcon 9’s upper stage engine fires, the payload will be ejected from the rocket about three and a half minutes into liftoff.

The Falcon 9 rocket will fire its upper stage engine twice to launch the Eutelsat 10B spacecraft into an elliptical supersynchronous transfer orbit, after which the satellite will deploy from the rocket. Eutelsat 10B will deploy its solar panels and begin maneuvers with its on-board electric propulsion system to orbit at a geostationary altitude of about 22,000 miles above the equator.

ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1049.11)

DOWNLOADING: Eutelsat 10B communications satellite

START YOUR PAGE: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida

START DATE: November 22, 2022

START TIME: 21:57 EST (0257 GMT)

WEATHER FORECAST: 20% chance of fair weather



TARGET ORBIT: Super synchronous transfer orbit


    • T+00:00: Liftoff
    • T+01:16: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
    • T+02:43: First stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
    • T+02:47: Phase separation
    • T+02:54: Second stage engine ignition
    • T+03:36: Fairing jump
    • T+08:05: Second stage engine shutdown (DRY 1)
    • T+26:18: Second stage engine restart
    • T+27:27: Second stage engine shutdown (SECO 2)
    • T+35:28: Eutelsat 10B separation


  • The 186th launch of the Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • 195th launch of the Falcon missile family since 2006
  • 11th release of Falcon 9 booster B1049
  • The 159th Falcon 9 launch from Florida’s Space Coast
  • 104th Falcon 9 launch from pad 40
  • 159th release in total from pad 40
  • 127th flight of a reused Falcon 9 booster
  • 5th SpaceX launch for Eutelsat
  • The 52nd Falcon 9 launch of 2022
  • 53rd launch by SpaceX in 2022
  • 51st orbital launch attempt from Cape Canaveral in 2022

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