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SpaceX Logs Second Mission in Two Days, as Busy November Beckons


SpaceX’s second mission of November rockets skyward, proper on the finish of the 122-minute “window”. Picture Credit score: Eutelsat

Lower than two days since its mammoth Falcon Heavy returned to flight for the primary time in over three years, SpaceX has upped the tempo of a busy November by lofting the high-powered, direct-to-home Hotbird 13G communications satellite tv for pc for Paris, France-headquartered Eutelsat. Liftoff of the seven-times-flown B1067 core—which final flew in mid-September—occurred from storied House Launch Advanced (SLC)-40 at Cape Canaveral House Drive Station, Fla., at 1:22 a.m. EDT Thursday, 3 November, proper on the closing immediate of a 122-minute “launch window”.

Video Credit score: SpaceX

Tuesday morning’s profitable launch of the triple-barreled Falcon Heavy, laden with the extremely secretive USSF-44 payload for the U.S. House Drive, was the fiftieth SpaceX mission of 2022, far surpassing its earlier private greatest of 31 missions, achieved late final fall. Eleven missions originated from Vandenberg House Drive Base, Calif., the remaining from the Cape’s SLC-40 or historic Pad 39A at neighboring Kennedy House Heart (KSC).

Twelve Falcon 9 cores and the brand-new core and side-boosters of Tuesday’s Heavy have lofted over 1,600 Starlink low-orbiting web communications satellites, two labeled payloads for the Nationwide Reconnaissance Workplace and three mixed-manifest Transporter missions. Added to that listing has been South Korea’s first voyage to the Moon, three crewed flights to the Worldwide House Station (ISS)—together with April’s historic all-civilian Ax-1 mission—and the CRS-25 Cargo Dragon beneath the second-round Industrial Resupply Companies (CRS2) contract.

B1067 turns evening into day throughout the sleeping House Coast with a spectacular 1:22 a.m. EDT Thursday launch. Picture Credit score: Eutelsat

Geostationary-bound flights additionally obtained a considerable hike in 2022, with no fewer than seven payloads—Egypt’s Nilesat 301 and SES-22 for Luxembourg-based supplier SES in June, Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13F and Intelsat’s dual-stacked Galaxy 33/34 twins final month, Tuesday’s launch of USSF-44 and Wednesday’s flight of Hotbird 13G—having all headed uphill. That units 2022 simply behind 2017 and 2018, which scored seven and eight geostationary launches, respectively, though with three extra GEO-headed missions scheduled for November, SpaceX seems to be set to quickly set up one other file this yr.

You could be forgiven for pondering you had seen Wednesday’s launch of Hotbird 13G earlier than. An nearly equivalent satellite tv for pc was launched through Falcon 9 solely final month.

The Merlin 1D+ Vacuum engine of the Falcon 9’s second stage, pictured midway via its prolonged, six-minute “burn”. Picture Credit score: Eutelsat

Hotbird 13F and 13G are each high-powered, direct-to-home communications satellites, destined to interchange the getting old Hotbird 8, 9 and 10—launched manner again in August 2006, December 2008 and February 2009—at 13 levels East longitude. Contracts to construct Hotbird 13F and 13G had been awarded by Eutelsat to Airbus Defence & in November 2018.

Each satellites are based mostly upon the 8,800-pound (4,100-kilogram) Eurostar-Neo “bus”. Notably, they boast Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM)—3D printing—of greater than 500 radio frequency elements, together with multi-waveguide blocks and swap meeting networks. In accordance with Airbus, this not solely resulted in substantial labor financial savings throughout the satellite tv for pc meeting course of, but additionally marked the primary large-scale deployment of radio frequency merchandise utilizing ALM.

Video Credit score: Eutelsat

Final month, solely hours after the Hotbird 13F launch, the Hotbird 13G satellite tv for pc was delivered safely from its meeting facility in Toulouse, France, to KSC in Florida, aboard an Airbus BelugaST wide-bodied transport plane.

Powered by all-electric propulsion, the Hotbird twins are furnished with a correspondingly bigger payload, permitting two satellites to supply the identical quantity of Ku-band capability because the three which presently help the 13 levels East orbital “slot”. And with a payload energy of twenty-two kilowatts, the Eurostar-Neo has enhanced resistance in opposition to sign jamming, together with superior options when it comes to uplink sign safety and resilience and distinctive on-orbit redundancy capabilities.

Hotbird 13G is readied for transportation from Toulouse, France, to Florida, final month. Picture Credit score: Airbus Defence & House

Hotbird’s present presence at 13 levels East affords it one in every of Europe’s largest broadcasting methods, delivering 1,000 tv channels to over 160 million properties in Europe, North Africa and the Center East. For the reason that Hotbird 13F/13G contract award, a number of channel suppliers have signed multi-year agreements to safe assets on this highly effective pair of satellites.

These embrace Spain’s Telefonica, which signed contracts in December 2019 to distribute common curiosity and information channels and Journey Africa Community’s high-definition journey channels, whose personal take care of Eutelsat was concluded in Might 2020. Extra just lately, in September 2020 Sky Italia renewed its Hotbird capability and in October of final yr TVN—a part of the Discovery Group and Poland’s main non-public broadcaster with 24 channels—signed a multi-year settlement to safe incremental assets.

B1067 first flew again in June 2021. Picture Credit score: NASA

Climate situations for Wednesday evening’s launch had been predicted to be 90-percent favorable, deteriorating solely barely to 80 p.c within the occasion of a 24-hour scrub to the backup alternative on Thursday. “A slow-moving weak frontal boundary is on observe to cross via Central Florida tomorrow afternoon, with an opportunity for remoted showers and storms close to the Spaceport within the late afternoon,” famous the forty fifth Climate Squadron at Patrick House Drive Base in its L-1 replace on Tuesday.

“Whereas most fashions have bathe exercise positioned off the coast, in addition to to the south, remoted showers shifting onshore throughout the launch window can’t be dominated out, making the Cumulus Cloud Rule the first menace for a Wednesday evening launch try,” the forty fifth added. Elevated wind speeds related to a strengthened stress gradient had been anticipated on Thursday.

B1067 entered the Falcon 9 fleet final yr and first flew in June 2021. Video Credit score: AmericaSpace

Flying final evening’s mission was B1067, making the seventh flight of her profession and her fourth thus far in 2022. She was launched into the Falcon 9 flight in June of final yr, when she kicked off the month-long CRS-22 Cargo Dragon mission to the ISS.

B1067 went on to ship eight astronauts from america, Germany and Italy to the sprawling orbital outpost on final November’s Crew-3 and final April’s Crew-4 missions. As well as, final December she lifted Turkey’s highly effective Türksat 5B communications satellite tv for pc on the preliminary leg of its lengthy trek to geostationary altitude, adopted by the CRS-25 Cargo Dragon in July 2022 and most just lately—after at least 5 scrubbed launch makes an attempt—a batch of 54 Starlinks in mid-September.

Final April, B1067 launched NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob “Farmer” Hines and Jessica Watkins, along with Italy’s Samantha Cristoforetti, to the ISS. Picture Credit score: Jeff Seibert/AmericaSpace

Wednesday’s launch proceeded with out incident, though SpaceX opted to purpose for the tip (1:22 a.m. EDT Thursday) slightly than the beginning (11:26 p.m. EDT Wednesday) of the 122-minute “window”. It cited the necessity “to finish pre-flight checkouts”.

Lower than 9 minutes after liftoff, the core stage pirouetted to a easy landing on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS), “Simply Learn the Directions”, located about 420 miles (675 kilometers) offshore within the Atlantic Ocean. B1067 has now logged protected returns to all three SpaceX drone ships, with two on-point touchdowns on JRTI, 4 on the deck of “A Shortfall of Gravitas” and aboard “Of Course I Nonetheless Love You”.

Her hypersonic grid-fins and touchdown legs deployed, B1067 approaches the deck of JRTI (left pane), because the drone ship itself seems to glow beneath the exhaust of its new arrival (proper pane). Picture Credit score: Eutelsat

Following the separation of B1067, the Falcon 9’s second stage performed a customary six-minute “burn” to ship Hotbird 13G uphill. The satellite tv for pc was set to be launched about 36 minutes after final evening’s launch.

With two missions thus accomplished within the month’s first two days, November seems to be set to be a banner month for SpaceX. The twin-stacked Galaxy 31/32 geostationary-bound communications satellites are up subsequent, as quickly as Tuesday, 8 November, with the CRS-26 Cargo Dragon—laden with a brand new set of ISS Roll-Out Photo voltaic Array (iROSAs) to reinforce the ISS electrical energy grid—on account of comply with no sooner than the 18th.

Her touchdown legs dimly seen within the gloom, B1067 sits protected and sound on the deck of the ASDS, “Simply Learn the Directions”. Picture Credit score: Eutelsat

NASA’s water-ice-seeking Lunar Flashlight will launch alongside Japan’s Hakuto-R lander and the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Rashid lunar rover on 22 November, with the Eutelsat 10B communications satellite tv for pc additionally slated for later this month. That’s with out point out of potential Starlink missions, which might see November shut out as SpaceX’s first seven-launch month.

In any case, the long-serving B1051 and B1049 Falcon 9 cores—the previous of which has already logged 13 launches, the latter ten—are anticipated to be expended after launching the Galaxy 31/32 twins and Eutelsat 10B later this month. Along with the Falcon Heavy’s B1066 heart core, which was additionally expended after Tuesday’s USSF-4 launch, this marks the primary time since January 2020 that SpaceX has not tried to get well boosters.

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