Arabsat is a telecommunications satellite operator in the Arab World, headquartered in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, May 27, SpaceX launched the 36th mission of the year which deployed Arabsat’s BADR-8 satellite to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GEO). A flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 12:30 a.m. ET from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The mission finally lifted off after a couple of weather related delays. SpaceX is working to increase its pace of spaceflight as it targets to conduct up to 100 missions in 2023 which is nearly double what it launched in 2022. To complete this ambitious launch manifest, SpaceX must launch rockets at an average rate of once every three to four days. SpaceX is currently the only company in the world capable of achieving this launch rate due to its ability to reuse orbital-class rockets.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/dPt27OtUxu— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 27, 2023
The Falcon 9 first-stage booster that supported the Arabsat BADR-8 mission is identified as B1062-14 which has now flown 14th times. It previously launched the U.S. Space Force’s GPS-III Space Vehicle 04 and GPS III Space Vehicle 05, SpaceX’s all-civilian Inspiration4 mission, Axiom’s Ax-1 astronaut crew, Egypt’s Nilesat 301, OneWeb Launch 17, and seven Starlink missions. Approximately 8 minutes and 45 seconds after liftoff B1062-14 was recovered a 14th time, it landed on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ autonomous droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. It marked SpaceX’s 195 landing of an orbital class rocket and the 168th time it reused a recovered one. Booster landings are always impressive to watch, SpaceX shared a video via Twitter (linked below).
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed the Just Read the Instructions droneship pic.twitter.com/lcwaoUj7Qf— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 27, 2023
The Arabsat BADR-8 satellite was released to geostationary transfer orbit by Falcon 9’s upper-stage at around half-an-hour after liftoff. SpaceX shared a video clip of the deployment operation, shown below. The BADR-8 satellite is manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space and designed to be operated by Arabsat it has massive transponders that will provide Television broadcasting and other telecommunication services across central Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. BADR-8 also hosts other instruments developed by Airbus that will be tested in orbit, including TELEO which is a new optical telecommunications technology. In the coming months, the BADR-8 satellite will use its onboard propulsion system to move into its operational circular geostationary orbit at a 26 degree longitude with an altitude of 36,000 kilometers over the equator. This type of orbit enables the satellite to operate in an orbit that matches the speed of Earth’s rotation to keep a constant view of its designated coverage zones.
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Correction: fixed typo, added 36,000 km altitude.
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.