SpaceX to launch GovSat 1 - LIVE

in #space4 years ago (edited)


Since I posted why I like Elon Musk today, why not post a live event of one of his achievements then, too? Thus, I am covering a SpaceX launch that will take off in about one hour, if weather conditions are favourable. If not, there is another launch window tomorrow, when such conditions are forecasted to be more forgiving.

Assuming thus, that all goes well, a Falcon 9 rocket will blast off from Launchpad 40 of Cape Canaveral in Florida. This specific booster was previously used in May of last year for mission NROL-76, which carried a reconnaissance satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. Below are photos of the liftoff (left) and landing (right) of the booster that will also be used in today's launch as well, making it the sixth recycled Falcon 9 stage SpaceX has flown.


The payload for this mission is a joint public-private venture between Luxembourg's government and company SES, dubbed GovSat 1, that aims to provide secure, encrypted communications for NATO military personnel and private security firms operating in an area stretching from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean and from Scandinavia to South Africa. It will be using six steerable antennas using the X-band for military operations that provide signals with some sort of anti-jamming, while the secondary Ka-band will be used for smaller, moving targets, such as planes and ships.

The satellite will be delivered to orbit but will push itself up to geostationary orbit (around 36,000 kilometers altitude) above the 21.5 degree longitude position using onboard engines. It weighs 4,320 kilograms and it was built by Orbital ATK. The funding was secured by it's operators in a 50-50 share, covering $123 million, and $154 million loaned by a consortium of banks from Luxembourg.

Although it contains sensitive data and equipment to be used by military, it appears that Orbital ATK did provide the photo of the satellite to the left. The spacecraft's primary mission, as state earlier, is to provide secure data over half the globe, as it orbits in lockstep with the Earth's rotational period (sidereal day), and is to last 15 years.

This is the second craft in the span of five days, and the fifth one launched by a Falcon 9 rocket, that is (partly) managed by SES, the world's largest private operator of satellites in geostationary orbits. The other craft, launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket, operated by Arianespace, started its journey from Kourou, French Guiana, and suffered some setbacks, but will complete its mission. I wrote about thin in two previous posts, which you can read here and here, if you are interested in more details.

Unfortunately the Falcon 9 will not be attempting a landing, as the payload is quite heavy, and its placement into high orbit requires too much fuel, leaving no room for the booster to perform a boostback burn. Additionally, SpaceX's drone ship that is usually used when ballistic reentries are the only option, is being prepared for the Falcon Heavy maiden flight, which I also wrote about here, and here, this latter post also covers the troubles of the Ariane 5 troubles, if you already opened the link in the previous paragraph.

Below, is the livestream with commentary from SpaceX staff. It will start in about one hour from the time of writing this post. Enjoy!


  • Unfortunately, the launch has been scrubbed for today. An upper stage sensor will be replaced.
  • Second launch window opens tomorrow, January 31st.

Will you be watching this event? I know I will! What are your thoughts on SpaceX's achievement to make it routine to land rockets and disappointing when that is not the case? Or am I the only one getting that feeling? Share below, along with any feedback you might have. It is greatly appreciated!

Thank you for reading, and keep on steemin'!

(clicking any image will take you to its source)


It seems that SpaceX does not fool around. They do the job and they do it great.

Indeed they do. They truly revolutionized the space industry. Can't wait for February, 6th, when their Falcon Heavy will perform its inaugural flight. Make sure to check back in then :D

Hi, I found some acronyms/abbreviations in this post. This is how they expand:

ATKAlliant Techsystems, predecessor to Orbital ATK
NROL(US) National Reconnaissance Office,Launch for the (US) National Reconnaissance Office
NROL-762017-05-01|F9-033 Full Thrust, core B1032, ^(classified payload); landed at LZ-1
SESFormerly Société Européenne des Satellites, comsat operator

It is a very interesting post about space and satellites.

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed!

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