SpaceX to launch two communication satellites today on its 84th mission of 2023

SpaceX plans to launch the SES O3b mPOWER mission today, a flight that will place two communication satellites into medium Earth orbit (MEO).

The Falcon 9 rocket ferrying these satellites is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at some point during an 89-minute window that opens at 4:08 p.m. EST (2108 GMT).

You can watch the action live via SpaceX’s account on X (formerly known as Twitter). Coverage is expected to begin about five minutes before liftoff.

According to SpaceX’s mission plan, the Falcon 9’s first stage will come back to Earth and make a vertical touchdown on the company’s drone ship about 8.5 minutes after liftoff. The ship, known as “A Shortfall of Gravitas,” will be waiting nearby in the Atlantic Ocean; the rocket’s upper stage will not be recovered, as is standard for Falcon 9 flights.

Two hours after liftoff, the rocket’s upper stage will deploy the first of the two satellites into medium Earth orbit (MEO) some 5,000 miles (8,000 km) above our planet. Seven minutes later, the second satellite will be deployed.

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The two Boeing-built spacecraft aboard the flight will expand the O3b constellation of communication satellites operated by provider SES S.A. of Luxembourg. Once the six-satellite constellation is complete, it is expected to provide high-speed connectivity to a variety of customers in both government and private industries beginning in late 2023.

The Falcon 9 booster on the flight has flown on eight previous missions, five of which were devoted to building out Starlink, SpaceX’s megaconstellation of broadband internet satellites. Starlink currently consists of more than 5,000 operational satellites.

The SES O3b mPOWER mission marks SpaceX’s 84th launch of the year.

Source: Space.com

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