SpaceX achieved another milestone on Thursday, August 3, as their Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched the Intelsat Galaxy G-37/Horizons-4 telecommunications satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). The liftoff took place at 12:15 a.m. Eastern Time from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The Intelsat Galaxy G-37/Horizons-4 satellite, designed to provide advanced television broadcasting services over North America, was deployed from the Falcon 9's second stage approximately 32 minutes after launch. Over the coming months, the satellite will gradually raise its orbits to its operational position in geostationary Earth orbit (GEO), a process that is expected to be completed by late 2023.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 3, 2023
This mission was notably supported by the Falcon 9 first stage booster with an impressive flight history. The booster, identified as B1077-6, had previously played a crucial role in several high-profile SpaceX missions. Notably, it had launched the SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts, the U.S. Space Force’s GPS III-6 satellite, Inmarsat I6-F2, NASA’s CRS-28 cargo mission to the International Space Station, and one Starlink mission. After stage separation during this latest mission, the first stage safely landed on the "Just Read the Instructions" droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The successful landing marked SpaceX's 213th landing of an orbital-class rocket, reinforcing their commitment to reusability and cost-effective spaceflight. This specific booster, a part of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Block 5 fleet, had been recovered and relaunched a remarkable total of six times. As of today, the company has reused recovered boosters 186 times.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship pic.twitter.com/miU7GVqx3q
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 3, 2023
The Intelsat Galaxy G-37 satellite's journey doesn't stop at launch and deployment. Once in its operational orbit at about 35,500 kilometers above the equator, the satellite will undergo rigorous testing and maneuvers. The satellite's initial testing phase will occur over Hawaii at approximately 148 degrees west, after which it will reposition itself to 127 degrees west, situating it west of Seattle. This meticulous process aims to ensure the satellite's reliability and performance before it enters service, which is expected to be in early October. See a video clip of the satellite’s SpaceX deployment below.
The telecommunications satellite is anticipated to serve its purpose for at least 18 years, further enhancing the communication infrastructure and capabilities over North America. With this successful mission, SpaceX notched its 52nd orbital launch of 2023, highlighting the company's continued efforts to reshape and redefine the space industry through innovative technology and practices.
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Featured Image Source: SpaceX Mission Broadcast
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.