SpaceX’s 23rd launch of the year puts Egyptian satellite into orbit

SpaceX has successfully completed its 23rd rocket launch and landing of 2022, delivering an Egyptian communications satellite to nominal geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).

Despite a report of a possible technical “problem” minutes before liftoff, the SpaceX launch team was able to either quickly correct the problem or determine that it was within an acceptable performance range, and Falcon 9 finally lifted off without issue at 5:00 a.m. EDT (21:04 UTC), Wednesday, June 8. Flying for the seventh time overall and the sixth time in less than a year, the Falcon 9 B1062 booster carried the rocket’s upper stage of approximately 100 tonnes (~220,000 lb), payload fairing and 4 ton (~9,000 lb) Nilesat 301 payload. out of Earth’s atmosphere, where they separated about 2.5 minutes after liftoff.

As B1062 began its return journey to Earth, Falcon 9’s upper stage ignited, deployed its fairing, and carried Nilesat 301 to an initial parking orbit, where it taxied for twenty minutes before enter an elliptical geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) and release the satellite. .

Nilesat 301 takes off on a Falcon 9 rocket. (Richard Angle)

In a few hours, Nilesat 301 will deploy its solar panels and begin initial checks. If the satellite is healthy, it will use its own onboard propulsion to raise the other end of its elliptical transfer orbit, eventually arriving in a circular geostationary orbit (GEO) somewhere over North or Central Africa. . The performance of the communications satellite will far surpass that of other spacecraft operated by Nilesat, significantly enhancing the company’s ability to provide customers across the region with high-quality television and communications services.

After completing its primary role in the mission, B1062 hit the dead point of the Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) drone, which was stationed nearly 680 kilometers (~421 mi) east of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX also expected to retrieve the two new Falcon 9 fairing halves, which should have deployed GPS-guided parafoils and gently splashed the surface of the ocean approximately 822 kilometers (~510 mi) downriver and been fished out. of water by the support vessel Doug around 45 years old. -60 minutes after takeoff.

B1062 made a nearly-spotty landing on the JRTI drone after its seventh trip to space. (SpaceX)

Nilesat 301 was B1062’s seventh overall launch and second launch in just 40 days, making it SpaceX’s second fastest booster time for a commercial launch. The mission was also SpaceX’s 132nd consecutive successful launch and 49th consecutive successful Falcon booster landing, as well as the company’s 23rd launch in the first 23 weeks of 2022.

SpaceX has up to five more launches scheduled for June 2022, including an eerily secret Globalstar mission and the launch of Starlink in mid-June; SARah-1 Payloads and Carpool Earliest (NET) June 18; and Dragon NET’s SES-22 communications satellite and CRS-25 space station cargo delivery on June 28.

(Richard Angle)
(Richard Angle)
Falcon 9 B1062 is pictured shortly before its Nilesat 301 launch. (Richard Angle)

SpaceX’s 23rd launch of the year puts Egyptian satellite into orbit

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