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 Egyptian Nilesat 301 communications satellite. Follow us on twitter.
SpaceX’s upcoming launch will deploy a telecommunications satellite to Egypt’s Nilesat after the liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday afternoon from Cape Canaveral. Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch with the Nilesat 301 telecom payload during a window opening at 5:04 pm EDT (2104 GMT).
The 229-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off from block 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, beginning a 33-minute mission to place the approximately 9,000-pound (4.1-ton) Nilesat 301 spacecraft. in an elongated transfer orbit ranging tens of thousands of miles above Earth.
Nilesat 301 is destined for an operational position in geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles (almost 36,000 kilometers) above the equator at 7 degrees west longitude, where it will provide TV broadcast and internet services over Egypt and other parts of Africa and Middle East. The spacecraft will use its own propulsion system for the final maneuvers to reach its operational orbit.
Wednesday’s launch will be the 23rd Falcon 9 launch of the year, and the first with a satellite heading into geostationary orbit, a popular location for TV broadcast and data relay spacecraft. It is also the first truly commercial launch into a geostationary transfer orbit worldwide this year.
The geostationary satellite launch market was once a lucrative business for launch providers including SpaceX. But the satellite market has shifted to smaller spacecraft, including constellations flying in low-altitude orbits, to transmit broadband signals to consumers.
SpaceX operates the Starlink network, the world’s largest fleet of satellites, and other companies are in the process of developing and deploying their own constellations.
The launch of Nilesat 301 is the first of up to six Falcon 9 rocket flights scheduled for June.
SpaceX will load one million pounds of super-cooled kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants onto the Falcon 9 in the final 35 minutes of the countdown on Wednesday. The Falcon 9 will transition to internal power and pressurize its propellant tanks before igniting nine Merlin main engines in T-minus 3 seconds.
After passing an automated health check, the computers will command four retaining clips to open, clearing the way for the Falcon 9 to lift off from Platform 40 with 1.7 million pounds of thrust.
The launch time is set for 5:04 pm EDT (2104 GMT) on Wednesday at the opening of a 2-hour, 29-minute window. US Space Force meteorologists predict a 60% chance of favorable weather for launch on Wednesday, with the main concern associated with threatening clouds from nearby storms.
Once off the platform, Falcon 9 will curve eastward from Cape Canaveral over the Atlantic Ocean and exceed the speed of sound by about a minute. The first stage booster will shut down its engines and separate from the Falcon 9’s upper stage at T+plus 2 minutes and 37 seconds.
The booster stage will fly through space for a few minutes before plunging back into the atmosphere to achieve a rocket-assisted vertical landing on the SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic nearly nine minutes after liftoff.
The Falcon 9’s first stage – tail number B1062 – will be flying for the seventh time. It debuted with the launch of a US military GPS satellite on November 5, 2020, and has since launched another GPS payload, the Inspiration4 and Axiom Ax-1 private astronaut missions, and two missions carrying satellites from the Inspiration4 and Axiom satellites. Starlink Internet in orbit.
In its six previous flights, the rocket carried 104 satellites and eight people into orbit.
Falcon 9’s upper stage will fire its single Merlin engine twice, first to reach a temporary parking orbit, then to propel Nilesat 301 into an elongated transfer orbit that extends tens of thousands of kilometers above Earth. Deployment of Nilesat 301 from Falcon 9’s upper stage is scheduled for about 33 minutes after the start of the mission.
Built in France by Thales Alenia Space, the Nilesat 301 will support Ultra HD television broadcasts and internet connectivity, replacing the Nilesat 201 spacecraft launched in 2010. The spacecraft is owned by Nilesat, a company controlled by Egyptian government organizations.
ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1062.7)
CHARGE: Nilesat 301 communications satellite
LAUNCH WEBSITE: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida
RELEASE DATE OF: June 8, 2022
LAUNCH WINDOW: 17:04-19:33 EDT (2104-2333 GMT)
WEATHER FORECAST: 60% probability of acceptable weather
REINFORCEMENT RECOVERY: Drone ship “Just read the instructions”
AZIMUTE LAUNCH: East
TARGET ORBIT: Geostationary Transfer Orbit
- T+00:00: Takeoff
- T+01:12: Maximum downforce (Max-Q)
- T+02:34: First stage main engine cutout (MECO)
- T+02:37: Stage separation
- T+02:45: Second stage engine ignition
- T+03:24: Fairing ejection
- T+06:28: First stage input burn ignition (three motors)
- T+06:50: First stage input firing ends
- T+08:05: Second stage motor cutout (SECO 1)
- T+08:19: First stage landing flare ignition (one engine)
- T+08:42: First stage landing
- T+26:56: Second stage motor restart
- T+28:02: Second stage motor cutout (SECO 2)
- T+33:13: Nilesat 301 Separation
- 157th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
- 165th launch of the Falcon rocket family since 2006
- 7th launch of Falcon 9 booster B1062
- 137th launch of Falcon 9 from Florida’s Space Coast
- 88th launch of Falcon 9 from Platform 40
- 143rd general release of platform 40
- 99th flight of a reused Falcon 9 booster
- SpaceX’s 1st launch for Nilesat
- 81st Thales Alenia Space-built satellite launched by SpaceX
- 23rd Falcon 9 launch of 2022
- SpaceX’s 23rd launch in 2022
- 23rd Cape Canaveral-based orbital launch in 2022