SpaceX scraps Falcon 9 launch attempt with Eutelsat satellite – Spaceflight Now

Live coverage 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 the Eutelsat 10B broadband communications satellite for air and sea connectivity. follow us Twitter.

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SpaceX’s oldest active Falcon 9 rocket booster, in service since 2018, is scheduled to make its final flight Tuesday night to launch a Eutelsat broadband communications satellite into orbit on a mission to provide Internet services to planes and ships in the North Atlantic, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The mission will complete a series of four major satellite launches for Eutelsat from early September.

The Eutelsat 10B satellite will lift off on a Falcon 9 rocket at 9:57 pm EST Tuesday (02:57 GMT Wednesday) from Pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Eutelsat 10B heads into a geostationary orbit perch to transmit communications across a coverage area from the North Atlantic to Asia, using more than 100 spot beams to connect airline and cruise ship passengers, marine crews and other users on the go .

A launch attempt on Monday night was scrapped a couple of hours before liftoff to “allow for additional pre-flight checks,” SpaceX said.

SpaceX will not recover the first stage of the 229-foot (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket. The launch company has an agreement with Eutelsat to dedicate all of the Falcon 9’s lift capacity to sending the Eutelsat 10B satellite into the highest possible orbit, unreserved and propellant in the first stage for landing maneuvers.

There is only a 20% chance of favorable launch weather Tuesday night, based on the official outlook from the US Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron.

A few miles north of Pad 40, SpaceX is preparing a different Falcon 9 rocket for launch Tuesday from the Kennedy Space Center on a resupply mission to the International Space Station. The weather forecast for that launch, set for 3:54 pm EST (20:54 GMT) Tuesday, is also iffy with a 30% chance of acceptable conditions for liftoff.

Eutelsat 10B will be deployed from the upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket about 35 minutes after launch. The rocket will aim to launch the spacecraft into a “super synchronous” transfer orbit with an apogee, or the furthest point from Earth, well above Eutelsat 10B’s final operating altitude of 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers). . The target apogee for the Eutelsat 10B mission in the spacecraft deployment will be above 37,000 miles, or about 60,000 kilometers, according to Pascal Homsy, Eutelsat’s technical director.

Instead of reserving some of its propellant for landing on a drone, the Falcon 9’s first stage propellant will burn its nine main engines a few seconds longer than usual, giving the upper stage an extra burst of speed. of the rocket. That will allow the Falcon 9’s second stage engine to put the Eutelsat 10B satellite into a higher orbit than would otherwise have been possible.

SpaceX still plans to recover the two halves of the Falcon 9 rocket’s payload fairing for restoration and reuse.

Artist’s conception of the Eutelsat 10B satellite with its antennas and solar panels deployed in orbit. Credit: Thales Alenia Space

The adviser to Thales Alenia Space, the maker of Eutelsat 10B, said deploying the satellite into a super-synchronous transfer orbit will shorten the time needed for it to reach its final operational geostationary orbit by about 10 days. Based on Thales’ Spacebus Neo satellite platform, Eutelsat 10B will use plasma thrusters for the orbit adjustments necessary to circularize its orbit at a geostationary altitude of 22,000 miles above the equator, where it will encircle Earth in time with the planet’s rotation.

The total launch mass of Eutelsat 10B is about 5.5 metric tons, or about 12,000 pounds, a Thales spokesperson told Spaceflight Now on Monday.

The expendable Falcon 9 mission will mark the third time this month that SpaceX has disposed of a Falcon rocket booster, following intentional removals of a core stage on a Falcon Heavy rocket on November 11. 1 and a Falcon 9 booster on a mission on November 1. 12. November 12. 12 launched two communications satellites for Intelsat, which said it paid a premium for the Falcon 9’s extra performance, resulting in the drive being removed in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The reason Eutelsat chooses a disposable propellant for this mission is because of the mass of the satellite, which requires the full fuel capacity and additional performance of the Falcon 9 rocket and proper in-orbit injection,” Homsy told Spaceflight Now in answer to written questions.

Homsy declined to say how much, if anything, Eutelsat paid SpaceX for the extra performance of Falcon 9 on the Eutelsat 10B mission.

Once in geostationary orbit next year, Eutelsat 10B will head to an operational position along the equator at 10 degrees east longitude. The satellite will add capacity for Internet connectivity services for aircraft and ships through the highly trafficked North Atlantic corridor between Europe and North America. Eutelsat 10B will also provide similar services in Europe, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East, according to Eutelsat, the Paris-based satellite owner and operator.

Eutelsat 10B carries two multibeam high-range Ku-band payloads for maritime and aviation Internet services. These two payloads have 116 spot beams capable of processing more than 50 GHz of bandwidth and offer a total throughput of about 35 gigabits per second, Eutelsat said.

The satellite also hosts two wide-beam Ku-band and C-band payloads to extend the services currently provided by the legacy Eutelsat 10A satellite, which was launched in 2009.

Eutelsat 10B is scheduled to enter service in the summer of 2023, Homsy said.

The Eutelsat 10B communications satellite within an antenna test range at Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France. Credit: Eutelsat

The launch of Eutelsat 10B marks the fourth major Eutelsat communications satellite to be launched in the last two and a half months, starting with the Eutelsat Konnect VHTS satellite which was launched in September on an Ariane 5 rocket. Two Hotbird TV broadcast satellites they joined the Eutelsat fleet after launches from Florida on Falcon 9 rockets in October and earlier this month.

“Quite a challenge for the Eutelsat engineering teams, who have risen to the challenge,” Homsy said.

During the countdown on Tuesday night, the Falcon 9 launcher will be filled with one million pounds of kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants in the last 35 minutes before liftoff.

Assuming the teams verify that the technical and weather parameters are all “green” for launch, the nine Merlin 1D main engines in the first stage booster will ignite with the aid of an ignition fluid called triethylaluminum/triethylborane, or TEA. -TEB. Once the engines are at full throttle, the hydraulic clamps will open to release the Falcon 9 for ascent into space.

The nine main engines will produce 1.7 million pounds of thrust for more than two and a half minutes, propelling Falcon 9 and Eutelsat 10B into the upper atmosphere. The booster stage will then shut down and separate from the Falcon 9 upper stage to begin a runaway plunge into the Atlantic.

The booster is not equipped with SpaceX’s recovery hardware, such as titanium grid fins or landing legs. And SpaceX didn’t deploy one of its drones for the expendable mission.

SpaceX is expected to try to recover the payload fairing of the Falcon 9 rocket after the two halves of the nose shell parachuted into the sea from Cape Canaveral. The payload fairing will jettison the rocket approximately three and a half minutes into the flight, shortly after the Falcon 9 upper stage engine fires.

The Falcon 9 rocket will fire its upper stage engine twice to inject the Eutelsat 10B spacecraft into a super-synchronous elliptical transfer orbit, then the satellite will deploy from the rocket. Eutelsat 10B will deploy its solar arrays and begin maneuvers with an onboard electric propulsion system to circle its orbit at a geostationary altitude of around 22,000 miles above the equator.

ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1049.11)

USEFUL LOAD: Communications satellite Eutelsat 10B

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

RELEASE DATE: Nov 22, 2022

LUNCH TIME: 21:57 EST (02:57 GMT)

WEATHER FORECAST: 20% chance of acceptable weather



TARGET ORBIT: Super synchronous transfer orbit


    • T+00:00: Takeoff
    • T+01:16: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
    • T+02:43: First stage main engine shutdown (MECO)
    • T+02:47: Separation of stages
    • T+02:54: Second stage engine ignition
    • T+03:36: Fairing removal
    • T+08:05: Second stage engine shutdown (SECO 1)
    • T+26:18: Second Stage Engine Restart
    • T+27:27: Second stage engine shutdown (SECO 2)
    • T+35:28: Eutelsat 10B separation


  • Launch number 186 of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • 195th launch of the Falcon family of rockets since 2006
  • 11th launch of the Falcon 9 B1049 booster
  • Falcon 9 launch number 159 from Florida’s Space Coast
  • Launch of the 104th Falcon 9 from Pad 40
  • Launch 159 overall from platform 40
  • Flight 127 of a repurposed Falcon 9 booster
  • 5th SpaceX launch for Eutelsat
  • Falcon 9 52nd launch of 2022
  • SpaceX’s 53rd launch in 2022
  • 51st orbital launch attempt based at Cape Canaveral in 2022

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