Intelsat has awarded a launch contract for its next-generation I-40e satellite to SpaceX. The launch isn’t due until 2022 but the satellite is already under construction by Maxar Technologies in an order that was formally signed last month.
Intelsat-40e will be the second craft launched by SpaceX (the first was I-35e back in 2017) and this upcoming launch will use a pre-flown Falcon 9 rocket.
“We are honored Intelsat, one of the world’s premier satellite operators, has selected a flight-proven Falcon 9 to deliver its next geostationary communications satellite to orbit,” Tom Ochinero, SpaceX’s VP/commercial sales, said March 17, in a statement.
The craft will serve North and Central America and also partly replace capacity lost on I-29e which failed having suffered a fuel leak.
The satellite will also carry an important NASA hosted payload (‘Tempo’) which will monitor pollution in the troposphere.
“When it’s launched, Intelsat 40e will be the newest addition to our next-generation Intelsat Epic platform, which is already providing our global customers with flexible, high-performance connectivity they can count on today – and in the future,” said Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler in February when the construction contract was awarded. “Intelsat continuously invests in innovative new satellite and hybrid technologies that make it easy and affordable for our customers to connect people, devices and networks, even in the most remote locations. We look forward to partnering with Maxar on this next build.”
Maxar says that the new craft is based on its proven 1300-class satellite platform. Intelsat 40e will provide Intelsat customers across North and Central America with flexible, high-throughput, “coast-to-coast” coverage. The additional capacity will also support the growing number of customers utilising Intelsat managed-service offerings, including those working with Intelsat to solve connectivity challenges for commercial and private planes, moving vehicles on land and other mobility applications.