Home » SCIENCE » SpaceX Launches World’s First All-Electric Satellite on Falcon 9
SpaceX Photo

SpaceX Launches World’s First All-Electric Satellite on Falcon 9

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket delivered the ABS 3A and EUTELSAT 115 West B all-electric satellites to a supersynchronous transfer orbit on Saturday, marking Falcon 9’s 16th launch and third mission this year.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the most voluminous payload to date lifted off at 10:50pm EST from SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The rocket and payload went vertical on the launch pad on Saturday, February 28. Liftoff occurred at the front of the launch window, with Falcon 9’s nine Merlin 1D engines putting out 1.3 million pounds of thrust, rising to 1.5 million pounds as the stage climbed out of Earth’s atmosphere, said SpaceX.

Approximately three minutes into flight, the first stage engines cut off and the first and second stages separated. Shortly thereafter, the second stage’s single Merlin Vacuum engine ignited to complete a five-minute burn. After 25 minutes into flight the engine restarted to complete a one-minute burn to bring the satellites to orbit.

After 30 minutes into flight, the ABS 3A satellite deployed into a supersynchronous transfer orbit followed by EUTELSAT 115 West B approximately five minutes later, said SpaceX.

These are the world’s first all-electric propulsion satellites and carry no liquid propellant – rather, they reach orbit entirely via a lighter and more efficient electric propulsion system.

This reduces the weight of the satellites to the point where both could be launched at once but on the flipside, it will take the satellites months to reach geostationary orbit.

ABS 3A will be located at 3° West and will connect the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. EUTELSAT 115 West B will be located at 114.9° West and will provide coverage from Alaska and Canada to South America.

Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit in 2012 that made history with its correct orbit for rendezvous with the International Space Station, making SpaceX the first commercial company ever to visit the station.

Since then SpaceX has made a total of three flights to the space station, both delivering and returning cargo for NASA. Falcon 9, along with the Dragon spacecraft, was designed from the outset to deliver humans into space and under an agreement with NASA.

SpaceX is scheduled to launch at least two more Falcon 9 rockets in 2015 and the the next launch is scheduled for March 21 when a Falcon 9 will deliver a communications satellite into orbit for Thales Alenia Space and the government of Turkmenistan.

(SpaceX Photo)

(SpaceX Photo)

The rocket and payload went vertical on the launch pad on Saturday, February 28. (SpaceX Photo)Liftoff occurred at the front of the launch window, with Falcon 9’s nine Merlin 1D engines putting out 1.3 million pounds of thrust, rising to 1.5 million pounds as the stage climbed out of Earth’s atmosphere. Approximately three minutes into flight, the first stage engines cut off and the first and second stages separated. (SpaceX Photo)

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*