Science

SpaceX Falcon 9 Holds Spectacular Sunset Sky Show That Raises 2 Intelsat Satellites Into Orbit

After a two-day delay of back-to-back scrubs, SpaceX launched a pair of Intelsat communications satellites from Cape Canaveral Saturday evening in the company’s third Falcon 9 launch. This followed two flights on Wednesday, one each from the coast, which were just seven hours away.

Using the first stage making its 14th flight – the most for a non-SpaceX commercial customer – the latest Falcon 9 detonated at 7:05 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and was on a pre-determined trajectory. climbed. Atlantic Ocean.

After dropping the well-used first stage for recovery on the SpaceX landing barge, the rocket’s upper stage ejected the two-satellite payloads out of the clear atmosphere, and dropped them into elliptical “transfer” orbits, as shown in Fig. The launch was as planned, about 40 minutes later.

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A remarkable view of the Falcon 9 heading into space as seen by a camera aboard a SpaceX droneship located several hundred miles into the Atlantic Ocean. All rocket exhaust plumes erupt in the low-pressure atmosphere of the extreme upper atmosphere, but the effect is particularly pronounced at sunrise or sunset. The rocket’s first stage, making its record-tying 14th flight, successfully landed approximately nine minutes after liftoff.

SpaceX


Spectacular video from the SpaceX droneship – awaits the first stage of the range several hundred miles down in the Atlantic Ocean – shows the rocket’s second stage’s exhaust plume expanding dramatically into the low-pressure upper atmosphere, an eye-opener The catching effect is best seen when backlit at dawn or sunset.

Area residents, tourists and photographers, amateurs and professionals alike, tweeted spectacular views of the rocket, silhouetted in front of the rising full moon as it raced toward orbit.

Photographer Trevor Mahleman tweeted, “Tonight captured Falcon 9 with Intelsat Galaxy 33 and 34 crossing Full Hunter’s Moon from the waters of Florida’s Indian River.”

In any case, with a successful launch behind them, Intelsat’s Galaxy 33 and 34 satellites will use on-board propulsion to raise the low and high points of their orbits until both are 22,300 miles above the equator, The spheres do not reach “geosynchronous” height. Line of sight for North America.

satellites are the latest An FCC-mandated drive to free up space In the radio spectrum for 5G mobile networks, new satellites are needed to replace the lost capacity. The Galaxy 33 and 34 will be used by various major media outlets including HBO, Disney Channel, Starz and Discovery Channel.

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A view of the launch of the Falcon 9 from nearby Kennedy Space Center climbed off Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

William Harwood/CBS News


“They are part of a seven-satellite purchase we made in 2020 to replace some of our Galaxy satellites,” Jean-Luc Froliger, senior vice president for space systems at Intelsat, told Spaceflight Now.

“Galaxy” is a brand name for Intelsat relay stations serving North America. The new satellites are being launched in pairs, with four more flights planned before the end of the year. This includes two from Cape Canaveral, Florida, one using another Falcon 9, and two from French Guiana, using a European Ariane rocket.

The seventh Galaxy is heavier than the others and will be launched in the first half of 2023.

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