A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has successfully launched GovSat-1 multi-mission satellite into orbit on January 31 at 4:25 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA.
The satellite separated successfully from the launch vehicle approximately 32 minutes into the mission after reaching its targeted orbit.
Falcon 9’s first stage for the GovSat-1 mission previously supported the NROL-76 mission from LC-39A in May 2017. SpaceX has earlier announced that it will not attempt to recover Falcon 9’s first stage after launch. Amazingly, the booster survived a water landing, despite the return not involving the drone ship.
Designed exclusively to address governmental and institutional security user needs, GovSat-1 is the first satellite of GovSat, a public-private partnership between the Government of Luxembourg and the world-leading satellite operator SES.
GovSat’s mission is to provide secure, reliable and accessible governmental satellite communication services to address the demand resulting from defence and institutional security applications.
The GovSat-1 satellite enables secure communication links between theaters of tactical operations, for maritime missions or over areas affected by humanitarian crises. It is ideal to enable mobility and ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) applications.
The multi-mission satellite offers X-band and Military Ka-band capacity, up to six high-powered fully steerable spot beams and an advanced Global X-band beam.
Equipped with anti-jamming features, encrypted telemetry and control, GovSat-1 will provide enhanced resilience capabilities operated out of secured ground control facilities. GovSat-1 will be positioned on the European geostationary orbit arc at 21.5 degrees East in the Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) 36,000 kilometers above the equator. It will support communications within Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and enable operations over the Atlantic and Indian oceans, as well as over the Mediterranean and Baltic seas.
GovSat-1 was built by Orbital ATK, and is offering 68 transponder-equivalent units of 36 MHz. It is designed to operate for 15 years, and has a launch mass of over four metric tons.
Orbital ATK completed the satellite’s initial post-launch health check and configuration in preparation for 16 days of orbit-raising procedures and in-orbit tests. Once testing has been completed, operational control of GovSat-1 will be handed over to GovSat.
“Our initial testing of GovSat-1 shows the satellite is performing nominally,” said Amer Khouri, Vice President of the Commercial Satellite business at Orbital ATK. “The company has previously delivered six GEOStar satellites to SES, one of GovSat’s shareholders. GovSat-1 demonstrates continued confidence in the company’s GEOStar products.”
The GEOStar-3 platform is the newest, highest power and most advanced platform in the flight-proven GEOStar product line. The spacecraft bus features an increase in both battery capacity and solar array power. An additional GEOStar-3 satellite is planned for launch this year.
The launch marks the second GEOStar-3 satellite built by Orbital ATK to launch this month. The first, the Al Yah 3, was launched last Thursday atop an Ariane 5ECA rocket which was also carrying SES-14 satellite. Al Yah 3 is the second satellite launched by Arianespace for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator Yahsat (Al Yah Satellite Communications Company), following Al Yah 1, launched in 2011.