SpaceX launched into orbit a commercial communications satellite carrying NASA earth science instruments on April 7.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched at 12:30 EDT (0430 GMT) from Space Force Station Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the Intelsat 40e satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
The first stage of Falcon 9 is its fourth flight, and may launch again in the future. According to Space.com, he successfully landed in less than nine minutes after the booster landed on the company’s drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean.
On the other hand, the upper stage of the rocket deployed the Intelsat 40e as scheduled, approximately 32.5 minutes after launch.
Intelsat 40e is an advanced geostationary satellite that provides high-throughput connectivity to government and enterprise customers in North and Central America.
Developed by Colorado-based Maxar Technologies, the satellite also carries NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions Oversight (TEMPO) unit as a hosted payload.
Intelsat 40e settles at 91 degrees west of geostationary orbit, about 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth’s equator. From there, the satellite will play a major communication role, but will also allow TEMPO to take her hourly snapshots of North American air pollution.
Geostationary orbit spacecraft appear virtually at a fixed location on Earth, while low-Earth orbit spacecraft make about 16 orbits every 24 hours, passing a given region only once a day.
TEMPO measures ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared spectra to detect levels of major pollutants such as ozone, formaldehyde, and nitrogen dioxide in the lower troposphere.
Karen St. Germain, director of the Earth Sciences Division at NASA Headquarters, said at a press conference on April 5.
“The true and unique difference to TEMPO here will be its stationary appearance. It also provides much higher resolution data than other missions,” added St. Germain. .
TEMPO was developed by Ball Aerospace and has a primary mission of 20 months, but may continue to function beyond that. The Intelsat 40e itself is powered by two large solar arrays and is designed to run for at least 15 years.
The hosted payload approach was welcomed by both Maxar and NASA officials during the media conference call.
Aaron Abell, TEMPO Project Manager at Maxar, said:
“The total cost for NASA is about $210 million,” said Kevin Daugherty, TEMPO project manager at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. “Of that, just over $90 million went into the development of the equipment itself. The rest paid the contractor for hosting and subsequent integration of his TEMPO, as well as ongoing support for his engineering and administration.”
Daugherty said NASA is working on a “lessons learned session” to consider how best to implement and approach such partnerships with commercial stakeholders in the future.
Friday’s launch was SpaceX’s 23rd of the year, and the Falcon 9 touchdown was the company’s 184th orbital rocket landing to date.
https://financialtribune.com/articles/sci-tech/117649/spacex-launches-satellite-with-nasa-payload-lands-rocket SpaceX launches satellite with NASA payload, lands rocket