SpaceX lofts Jupiter 3 for EchoStar
July 31, 2023
By Chris Forrester
After two scrubbed attempts, a SpaceX ‘Heavy’ rocket successfully placed a massive satellite for EchoStar-owned Hughes Communications into orbit in a night-time launch on July 28th. It was the 250th successful mission for SpaceX.
The rocket’s core booster was supported by two side boosters – which a few minutes later made a synchronised landing back at the Florida space port. After some 3.5 hours Hughes confirmed that all was well with the craft.
The satellite – also known as EchoStar XXIV – is claimed to be the largest commercial communications satellite ever constructed and has the wingspan of a commercial airliner following its deployment. It weighs more than 9 metric tons, according to its manufacturer, Maxar Technologies.
The Hughes satellite provides a 500-gigabit-per-second Internet transmission capacity throughout the Americas. The satellite will support in-flight wi-fi, maritime connections, enterprise networks, backhaul for mobile network operators and support community wi-fi solutions in addition to providing satellite Internet connectivity across North and South America.
The craft will be placed at 95 degrees West orbital slot. It will take the place of EchoStar’s Spaceway 3 satellite, which launched back on August 14th 2007.
While the new satellite will boost coverage and capacity from Hughes for rural broadband, it will be interesting to see how customers react to the new craft when they already have availability for Elon Musk’s Starlink services.
“Jupiter 3 is the highest capacity, highest performing satellite we’ve ever launched. As the leading provider and inventor of satellite internet, we’re proud to herald the start of a new era of connectivity and serve more customers where cable and fiber cannot,” said Hamid Akhavan, CEO, EchoStar. “This purpose-built satellite is engineered uniquely to meet our customers’ needs and target capacity where it’s needed most, such as the most rural regions of the Americas, so they can stay connected to the applications and services they depend on every day.”
“Whether helping a student in Mexico expand her horizons with access to technology, connecting a farmer in Idaho with the tools to monitor his crops, or connecting a senior in Montana to her doctor via a telehealth appointment, Jupiter 3 will connect our customers to what matters most,” added Akhavan.