A Falcon 9 lit up the skies of Florida on Monday night in what is now a very familiar scene. The rocket has successfully deployed Hispasat’s Amazonas Nexus communications satellite on a trajectory that will take it into geostationary orbit, from where it will extend the Spanish company’s coverage across the Americas, the Atlantic Ocean and Greenland.
The rocket lifted off at 8:32 p.m. ET from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Some eight minutes later, the main stage thruster, B1073-6, performed a successful vertical landing at the top of the Just read the instructions droneship parked in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the booster’s sixth flight, having delivered the SES-22 satellite, ispace’s HAKUTO-R lunar lander and three batches of the company’s Starlink satellites.
Once in its operational geostationary orbit, Amazonas Nexus will cover both North and South America, the North Atlantic Corridor and, very excitingly, Greenland. The 5-tonne (4.5 metric ton) high-throughput satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space, will extend Hispasat’s coverage and “focus on connectivity services in remote areas and in air and maritime mobility contexts “, the society said.
Hispasat is a Spanish satellite communications operator that distributes more than 1,250 television and radio channels to its 30 million subscribers through its fleet of satellites, which currently has nine operational satellites (excluding Amazonas Nexus). Monday’s launch was the first time a Falcon 9 has delivered an Amazonas satellite into space, with previous flights performed by Ariane 5 and Proton-M rockets. That said, a Falcon 9 did deliver the Hispasat 1F satellite in 2018.
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The new Amazonas Nexus satellite will serve as the fourth Amazonas satellite currently working in space, and it features an innovative architecture that combines Ku and Ka bands, which multiplies “the total onboard capacity available for commercial use”. according at Hispasat. New satellite is expected to operate for the next 15 years.
As for SpaceX, the company continues to truck. Monday’s launch was its ninth orbital launch of 2023, which includes eight Falcon 9 launches and one Falcon Heavy. It’s also SpaceX’s 16th launch in the past nine weeks.
The current 2023 launch cadence puts SpaceX on a pace of around 89 orbital launches, but the past nine-week pace puts it closer to 92.. THE increased cadence – a distinct possibility – that could result in more than 100 orbital launches for the calendar year, a stated goal of CEO Elon Musk.
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