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

SpaceX scrubs 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 Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Eutelsat 10B broadband communications satellite for aeronautical and maritime connectivity. follow us on Twitter.

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SpaceX’s oldest active Falcon 9 rocket booster, in service since 2018, will make its final flight Tuesday evening to launch an Eutelsat broadband communications satellite into orbit on a mission to provide internet service to aircraft and ships across the North. -Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Middle East and Africa. The mission has been completing a series of four major satellite launches for Eutelsat since early September.

The Eutelsat 10B satellite will lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 9:57 p.m. EST Tuesday (0257 GMT Wednesday) from Pad 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Eutelsat 10B is on its way to a perch in geostationary orbit to broadcast communications signals over a coverage area from the North Atlantic to Asia, using more than 100 spot beams to communicate with airline and cruise ship passengers, maritime crews and other users en route. to connect each other.

A Monday night launch attempt was scrapped a few hours before launch to “allow for additional pre-flight checkouts,” SpaceX said.

SpaceX will not restore the first stage of the 70-meter Falcon 9 rocket. The launch company has an agreement with Eutelsat to dedicate all of the Falcon 9’s lifting power to steering the Eutelsat 10B satellite into the highest possible orbit, without reserving propellant on the first stage for landing maneuvers.

There’s only a 20% chance of favorable weather ahead of Tuesday night’s launch, according to the official forecast from the US Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron.

A few miles north of pad 40, SpaceX is preparing another Falcon 9 rocket for launch on Tuesday from Kennedy Space Center for a resupply mission to the International Space Station. The weather forecast for that launch, set for Tuesday at 3:54 p.m. EST (2054 GMT), is also dubious with a 30% chance of acceptable launch conditions.

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

Instead of reserving some of the propellant for landing on a drone ship, the Falcon 9’s first stage booster will burn its nine main engines for a few seconds longer than normal, giving the rocket’s upper stage an extra boost . This allows the Falcon 9’s second stage engine to launch the Eutelsat 10B satellite into a higher orbit than would otherwise have been possible.

SpaceX still plans to retrieve the two halves of the Falcon 9 rocket’s fairing for refurbishment and reuse.

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

A spokesperson for Thales Alenia Space, the manufacturer of Eutelsat 10B, said deploying the satellite to supersynchronous orbit will reduce the time it takes 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 orbital adjustments necessary to orbit at geostationary altitude 22,000 miles above the equator, where it will circle Earth in step with the planet’s rotation .

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

The expendable Falcon 9 mission marks the third time this month that SpaceX has removed a Falcon rocket booster, following the deliberate removal of a core stage on a Falcon Heavy rocket on Nov. 1 and a Falcon 9 booster on a mission on Nov. 12. The Nov. 12 mission brought two communications satellites to Intelsat, which said it paid a premium for the extra performance of the Falcon 9, resulting in the booster’s removal in the Atlantic.

“The reason why Eutelsat chose a replaceable booster 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 good orbital injection,” Homsy told Spaceflight Now in response to written questions.

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

Once in geostationary orbit next year, Eutelsat 10B will steer itself 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 over the heavily trafficked North Atlantic corridor between Europe and North America. Eutelsat 10B will also provide similar services over Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, according to Eutelsat, the Paris-based owner and operator of the satellites.

Eutelsat 10B carries two multi-beam high-through-ku-band payloads for aviation and maritime internet services. These two payloads have 116 spot beams capable of handling more than 50 GHz of bandwidth and provide throughput of about 35 gigabits per second, Eutelsat said.

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

Eutelsat 10B is expected to begin operation 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 launched in the last two and a half months, starting with the Eutelsat Konnect VHTS satellite launched in September with an Ariane 5 rocket. Two Hotbird TV broadcast satellites joined the Eutelsat fleet after launches from Florida on Falcon 9 rockets in October and earlier this month.

“It’s quite a challenge for Eutelsat’s technical teams, who have risen to the challenge,” said Homsy.

During Tuesday night’s countdown, the Falcon 9 launcher will be filled with a million pounds of kerosene and liquid oxygen in the last 35 minutes before launch.

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

The nine main engines will produce 1.7 million pounds of thrust for more than two and a half minutes, propelling the Falcon 9 and Eutelsat 10B into the upper atmosphere. Then the booster stage shuts down and separates from the Falcon 9’s upper stage to begin an uncontrolled fall into the Atlantic Ocean.

The booster is not equipped with SpaceX’s recovery hardware, such as titanium grille fins or landing legs. And SpaceX has not deployed any of its drone ships for the expendable mission.

SpaceX is expected to attempt to repair the Falcon 9 rocket’s fairing after the two shell halves of the nose cone parachuted into the sea from Cape Canaveral. The payload fairing will be ejected from the rocket about three and a half minutes into flight, shortly after ignition of the Falcon 9’s upper stage engine.

The Falcon 9 rocket will fire its upper stage engine twice to inject the Eutelsat 10B spacecraft into an elliptical supersynchronous orbit, after which the satellite will be deployed from the rocket. Eutelsat 10B will deploy its solar arrays and begin maneuvers with an onboard electric propulsion system to circle its orbit at geostationary altitude about 22,000 miles above the equator.

ROCKET SHIP: Falcon 9 (B1049.11)

LOAD CAPACITY: Eutelsat 10B communications satellite

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

LAUNCH DATE: November 22, 2022


WEATHER FORECAST: 20% chance of acceptable weather



GOAL JOB: Super synchronous transfer path


    • T+00:00: Launch
    • T+01:16: Maximum Aerodynamic Pressure (Max-Q)
    • T+02:43: First stage main motor shutdown (MECO)
    • T+02:47: Step separation
    • T+02:54: Second stage engine ignition
    • T+03:36: Throw cockpit overboard
    • T+08:05: Engine cut second stage (SECO 1)
    • T+26:18: Second stage motor restart
    • T+27:27: Second stage motor cutout (SECO 2)
    • T+35:28: Eutelsat 10B separation


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

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