SpaceX to Launch Bus-Sized Satellite on Its 50th Falcon 9 Rocket
Mar 07 2018
The aerospace company hopes to launch a fleet of more than 1,000 satellites as part its planned space-based internet system.
The payload weighed 6 metric tons, and according to CEO Elon Musk, has the physical footprint of a city bus.
Following take-off, the satellite would be deployed just under 33 minutes later, after which the first stage of Falcon 9 would fall back to Earth.
Communications satellites are often placed into geostationary orbits - approximately 37.5km from the surface of the Earth - and remain at a fixed position which satellite antennas can point at. "At 6 metric tons and nearly the size of a city bus, it will be the largest geostationary satellite we've ever flown", Musk tweeted earlier on Monday.
As its name implies, Hispasat 30W-6 eventually will be stationed above the equator east of Brazil at 30 degrees west longitude where it will replace an older satellite, Hispasat 1D, providing additional high-speed Ku-band coverage of the Andes region and Brazil, along with expanded service to the Americas and western Europe.
This payload is heavier than anything SpaceX has sent into geostationary orbit with the intention of landing the booster afterward. "Built on the SSL 1300 satellite platform, Hispasat 30W-6 is expected to have a useful life of 15 years with 10.5 kW power". Citing "unfavorable weather conditions in the recovery area off of Florida's Atlantic Coast", SpaceX said it would not attempt to recover the first stage. Also, this one marks 2018's fifth launch for SpaceX and four of them were using Falcon 9 rockets. Once launched, the satellite will not be recovered. This is also likely to be followed by another Falcon 9 launch in early to mid-April carrying Bangladesh's first communications satellite.