SpaceX launches Egyptian satellite
June 8 at 5:03 pm E.T. via Falcon 9 from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
Egypt's latest communications satellite has launched today from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Nilesat 301 is the fourth in this satellite series for Nilesat Co. and will replace the Nilesat 201 communications satellite which launched in August of 2010. The first, Nilesat 101 which launched in April of 1998 and was decommissioned in 2013 when it was replaced by Nilesat 102. All of these operated from the seven degrees West orbital position, and will extend the company's provision of Ku-band communications and direct digital broadcasting services in two large regions of Africa while also providing broadband Ku-band connectivity all over Egypt.
Built by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy, Nilesat Co contracted the construction of this 301 satellite back in December of 2019. Using their Spacebus-4000B2 platform the satellite will weigh about 4100 kilograms at launch and will utilize the Falcon 9's almost 1.8 million pounds of thrust to launch it into the desired geostationary orbital position. This satellite may only be the fourth for this company but it marks Egypt's tenth, and Africa's forty-eighth satellite to be in orbit to service the region. All the previous Nilesat satellites were launched by the European launch provider, Arianspace from Europe's Space port in Kourou, French Guiana.
SpaceX met with Nilesat in January of 2020 when a partnership was formed for the launch of this mission from the United States aboard their workhorse Falcon 9 rocket. Chosen for this mission is Falcon 9 serial number B1062 which already has six flights under its belt for the company. It first flew on the GPS III SV03 Sacagawea mission in November of 2020, and has since launched another GPS III mission, two Starlink missions, and two crewed missions (Inspiration-4, Axiom-1) making it quite a diverse rocket in terms of cargo it has carried into orbit. Once the second stage separates the first stage booster returned back to Earth, landing on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas where it was positioned in the Atlantic Ocean.
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