SpaceX is looking to launch Intelsat’s giant I-35e satellite into orbit this coming Sunday, July 2nd. It will be the third launch for the rocket company in 9 days, a spectacular achievement and a record for the industry.
It had been assumed that last week’s slightly delayed June 23rd launch of BulgariaSat-1 would mean inevitable knock-on delays while the same Cape Canaveral launch pad (39A) was made good, and any repairs carried out.
The commitment to launching Intelsat-35e on Sunday (weather permitting, at 19.35 Eastern time) means that SpaceX’s greater ambition to make such launches a routine is well on its way to success. SpaceX’s founder Elon Musk has frequently said that a weekly launch – albeit from two adjacent launch pads – should be achievable.
This Sunday’s event sees SpaceX lift its heaviest-ever cargo, at about 6000 kgs. SpaceX is expected to place the satellite into a high geostationary transfer orbit which has the benefit of allowing Intelsat to get the craft on station fairly quickly. It will be located at 34.5 degrees West (326.5 degrees East). The satellite will be used for Ultra-HD TV broadcasts as well as broadband data supply and government capacity. Once in orbit and with performance checks carried out the satellite will replace Intelsat 903 (itself having been launched back in 2002).
However, the weight of the Boeing satellite and the planned high-orbit launch means that this particular Falcon 9 rocket is deemed expendable and will not be recovered.