Science & Nature

SpaceX launches Eutelsat 10B on expendable Falcon 9

SpaceX launches Eutelsat 10B on expendable Falcon 9 thumbnail

by Jason Rainbow

SpaceX launched Eutelsat 10B on an expendable Falcon 9. Credit: SpaceX / Eutelsat

TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX overcame a bleak weather forecast to launch a satellite Nov. 22 that expands Eutelsat further into fast-growing markets for providing broadband to planes and ships.

A Falcon 9 carrying the Eutelsat 10B satellite lifted off 9:47 p.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, during a window that had been given a probability of just 10% to be go for launch. 

The mission was delayed from Nov. 21 to allow SpaceX more time to conduct “additional pre-flight checkouts.”

SpaceX used an expendable version of the Falcon 9 to send Eutelsat 10B to a high-energy supersynchronous transfer orbit, which should shorten the time it takes the all-electric satellite to reach its final geostationary position with its own thrusters.

A spokesperson for Thales Alenia Space, which built the satellite, was cited saying the trajectory shaves 10 days off Eutelsat 10B’s journey compared to a more typical launch to an apogee below geostationary orbit.

The faster route helps mitigate pandemic-related production issues that have delayed plans to bring Eutelsat 10B into service. 

Based on Thales Alenia Space’s Spacebus NEO platform, Eutelsat 10B has about 35 gigabits per second of capacity and is slated to deliver high-throughput Ku-band services for aviation and maritime customers across Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean.

The satellite also carries two C- and Ku-band payloads to replace TV broadcast services provided by Eutelsat 10A, which is due to reach the end of its operational life at the end of 2023.

More to come.

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