SpaceX launches TV broadcasting satellite for Eutelsat – Spaceflight Now

Live broadcast of the countdown and launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket will launch Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13G geostationary communications satellite. Follow us excitement.

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SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 1:22 a.m. EDT (0522 GMT) on Thursday with Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13G television broadcast satellite. Falcon 9’s first-stage booster has landed on a low-range drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Ground crews rounded Falcon 9 to pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Wednesday, the day after SpaceX launched a powerful Falcon Heavy rocket from pad 39A a few miles off the coast. The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 was raised vertically on ramp 40 in front of the night launch window Wednesday afternoon.

Forecasters from the US Space Force’s 45th Air Squadron predicted a 90% probability of favorable weather for takeoff, with only a small chance of cumulus clouds that could pose a lightning threat.

Built by Airbus, the nearly 10,000-pound (4.5 metric tons) Hotbird 13G spacecraft will beam hundreds of television and radio channels across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Hotbird 13G is the twin satellite of Hotbird 13F, launched in October. 15 on a previous SpaceX Falcon 9 mission. The two Hotbirds are the first satellites built on Airbus’ new Eurostar Neo spacecraft design, which includes upgrades to propulsion, thermal control and electrical systems.

During the countdown on Thursday morning, the Falcon 9 launcher was filled with one million pounds of kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants in the last 35 minutes before takeoff.

After the teams confirmed that the technical and weather parameters were “green” for launch, the nine Merlin 1D main engines in the first stage booster were revived with the help of an ignition fluid called triethylaluminum/triethylborane, or TEA-TEB. Once the engines were at full throttle, the hydraulic grippers opened to free the Falcon 9 to climb into space.

Nine main engines pushed Falcon 9 and Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13G communications satellite into the upper atmosphere, producing 1.7 million pounds of thrust for about two and a half minutes. Then, the booster stage with tail number B1067 in the SpaceX fleet was shut down and separated from the Falcon 9’s upper stage.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket awaits takeoff at pad 40 in Cape Canaveral, along with the Hotbird 13G communications satellite. Credits: Space Flight Now

The booster uses titanium grille fins and pulsed cold gas thrusters to redirect back into the atmosphere for the first entry from the tail, before re-igniting its engines for a brake burn and a final landing burn, before aiming a vertical descent to the drone carrier, “Just Read Instructions” Cape Canaveral. parked about 420 miles (about 675 kilometers) east of

The successful rocket landing on the drone carrier marked the completion of the booster’s seventh flight into space. The booster launched with the launch of a Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station on June 3, 2021, launching two crews of astronauts into space on NASA’s Crew-3 and Crew-4 missions. It also launched the Türksat 5B communication satellite, another space station resupply mission, and most recently, a group of Starlink internet satellites in September. 18.

For the Hotbird 13G mission, the Falcon 9 rocket fired its upper stage engine twice to inject the spacecraft into an elliptical geostationary transfer orbit with a peak or high point 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers) above Earth.

The Hotbird 13G separated from the Falcon 9 rocket approximately 36 minutes into the mission.

After deploying from the Falcon 9 launcher to begin its journey into geostationary orbit, Hotbird 13G will deploy its solar panels and use PPS5000 plasma orbital booster thrusters developed by French company Safran for orbital elevation maneuvers over several months to reach a circular geostationary orbit. over 22,000 miles (about 36,000 kilometers) above the equator.

The fuel-efficient plasma propulsion system relies on xenon gas and electricity to generate thrust, instead of a traditional liquid rocket fuel like hydrazine. This reduces the weight of the satellite, allowing engineers to launch it on a smaller rocket or add additional payloads to support greater communications capability for customers.

But orbital boosting using electric propulsion takes longer than maneuvers based on conventional rocket motors.

Hotbird 13G, like its predecessor, Hotbird 13F, will orbit in key step 13 degrees east longitude with Earth’s rotation.

This map shows the ground track of the Falcon 9 rocket heading east from Cape Canaveral to place the Hotbird 13G communications satellite in a stable transfer orbit. The location of the drone ship is labeled “Read Instructions Only” here. Credits: Space Flight Now

By the middle of next year, the Hotbird 13G will be ready to enter commercial service to begin a 15-year mission of broadcasting television programs to Eutelsat customers. Thanks to advances in satellite communications technology, Eutelsat will only need two new Hotbird satellites to replace the three older Hotbird spacecraft operating 13 degrees east.

Eutelsat technical director Pascal Homsy said that the Hotbird fleet at 13 degrees east constitutes the highest capacity satellite broadcasting system covering the regions of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, delivering 1,000 TV channels to more than 160 million homes. Hotbird 13F and 13G will broadcast signals on Ku-band frequencies.

“We have something like 600+ pay-TV channels, 300 free-to-air channels, 450 high-definition TVs and 14 ultra-high-definition channels broadcast from this flagship 13 degree east location,” Homsy said, prior to the launch of the Hotbird 13F last month. . “We are also able to provide 500 radio stations and multimedia services.”

The launch of the Hotbird 13G was SpaceX’s 51st mission in 2022 and the second in a series of three Falcon 9 flights for Eutelsat this year. The Eutelsat 10B communications satellite, designed to provide airline passengers with in-flight internet connectivity, was delivered by boat from Europe to Cape Canaveral last week for launch on a Falcon 9 rocket later this month.

The Hotbird 13G communications satellite was placed inside the shipping container before leaving its factory in Toulouse, France. Credits: Airbus Defense and Space

ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1067.7)

LOAD: Hotbird 13G communication satellite

LAUNCH SITE: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida

LAUNCH DATE: November 2/3, 2022

START WINDOW: 23:26 – 1:22 EDT (0326-0522 GMT)

WEATHER FORECAST: 90% acceptable weather probability

UPGRADE RESCUE: “Just Read Instructions” drone ship


TARGET Orbit: geostationary transfer orbit


  • T+00:00: Departure
  • T+01:12: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+02:32: First stage main engine cut-off (MECO)
  • T+02:35: Stage separation
  • T+02:43: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+03:23: Throwing skins
  • T+06:30: First stage inlet burn ignition (three engines)
  • T+06:55: First stage input burn ends
  • T+08:08: Second stage engine cut-off (SECO 1)
  • T+08:22: First stage burner ignition (single engine)
  • T+08:44: First stage landing
  • T+29:11: Second stage engine restart
  • T+30:10: Second stage engine cut-off (SECO 2)
  • T+36:11: Hotbird 13G separation


  • 184th launch of Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • 193rd launch of Falcon rocket family since 2006
  • 7th launch of Falcon 9 booster B1067
  • 157th Falcon 9 launch from Florida’s Space Coast
  • 102. Falcon 9 launched from pad 40
  • 157th launch overall from Pad 40
  • 125th flight of a reused Falcon 9 booster
  • 4th SpaceX launch for Eutelsat
  • 50th Falcon 9 launch of 2022
  • 51st launch by SpaceX in 2022
  • 48th orbital launch attempt to depart Cape Canaveral in 2022

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