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SpaceX to Launch World’s Largest Communications Satellite

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket poised for launch, carrying Maxar Technologies' massive Jupiter 3 satellite.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket poised for launch, carrying Maxar Technologies’ massive Jupiter 3 satellite. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX has scheduled the launch of Jupiter 3, the largest commercial communications satellite, for July 26 at 11:04 p.m. EDT (1504 GMT). After the first stage separates, the core booster will be discarded and won’t attempt a landing on a drone ship at sea.

The two side boosters of Falcon Heavy will execute boost-back burns after separation, allowing them to return almost simultaneously to SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral about 8.5 minutes after liftoff.

Largest communications satellite by SpaceX

The powerful SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will take off, carrying Maxar Technologies’ mammoth satellite. This communications platform will join other satellites in the Hughes Jupiter fleet already circling our planet and provide high-speed internet to people in North and South America.

Hughes stated that the Jupiter 3 will be the largest commercial communications satellite globally once fully operational.

Once it’s up there, the Jupiter 3 will be as huge as the wingspan of a big airplane, which can be around 130 to 160 feet (40 to 50 meters).

Launch of the rocket

The Falcon Heavy, the rocket responsible for this grand mission, is set to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, specifically from Launch Complex-39A. This rocket was successfully launched six times before and made a spectacular debut in 2018.

The improved spacecraft is on its way to a geostationary orbit and will double the current data rate abilities of the Hughes satellite fleet. The Jupiter 3 will provide additional services like in-flight Wi-Fi and faster internet plans to improve home Wi-Fi usage and other wireless technologies.

SpaceX Jupiter 3 Specifications

The SpaceX Jupiter 3 comes with a modernized technological design that has made it possible to make the satellite’s electronics smaller, add solid-state amplifiers, and enhance the efficiency of its antennas. This information comes from a statement on Maxar’s website.

At the bottom of the Falcon Heavy rocket are 27 Merlin rocket engines. These engines, when combined, can produce a tremendous force of over 5 million pounds (equivalent to 22,241 kilonewtons) during liftoff.

This powerful thrust allows the rocket to carry payloads of nearly 60 thousand pounds (about 27,215 kilograms) to a specific type of geosynchronous orbit.

The Falcon Heavy is designed to be reused fully, which means the components can be brought back to Earth and used again for future missions. However, there’s an option for booster expandability.

This means that if a payload is particularly heavy or requires a specific orbit that demands extra fuel for a safe return, the rocket can release additional fuel and not be fully reusable for that particular launch.

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