Gorgeous Blastoff of GovSat-1 on ‘Flight-Proven’ SpaceX Falcon 9 from Florida’s Spaceport: Photos



SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying GovSat-1/SES-16
lifts off at 4:25 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) on Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida to geostationary transfer orbit on Jan. 31,
2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/www.kenkremer.com



CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL – This afternoon lucky spectators witnessed
a truly gorgeous blastoff of the unique GovSat-1 civilian/military satellite on
a ‘flight-proven’ SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday, Jan. 31 – with vastly improved
and truly serene weather conditions compared to the gloomy weather overhanging
Florida during yesterday’s originally targeted launch opportunity.






Liftoff of the recycled single stick Falcon 9 carrying GovSat-1 took place right at the opening of
the launch window s now scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018 at
4:25 p.m. EST (2125
GMT) from seaside
Space Launch Complex-40
(SLC-40) on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.







“Impressive
to finally see
#GovSat1 on its way to orbit,” tweeted Xavier
Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg.  






“This
is the beginning of a new experience for
@GovSat is strengthening the position of Luxembourg as a key player in the space sector and contributes to a diversification of our economy.



The rocket soared off pad 40 with a bright
flash of light and a mounting crescendo of nine roaring Merlin 1 D engines producing
1.7 million pounds of liftoff thrust.  

It soon arced over eastwards to the African
continent. 


The payload separated from the second
stage 33 minutes after launch as planned. 



GovSat-1 was developed as a joint venture in a public-private
partnership between the Government of Luxembourg and satellite operator SES. 



The launch team had to scrub the launch for 24 hours in order to enable
technicians to fix a balky transducer discovered in the second stage only some 90
minutes prior to T-Zero.



The
Falcon 9 carrying GovSat-1 soared to orbit
under picture perfect skies,
with modestly warm temperatures and virtually no winds. In marked contrast to
yesterdays (Jan. 30) gloomy clouds and extremely brisk, howling and threatening
winds. 






The strong gusts from both ground winds and upper altitude winds would
very likely have scrubbed the launch anyway, even if it had proceeded absent
the forced postponement due to a technical glitch.






Check out our gallery of new photos of blastoff of GovSat-1.



SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying GovSat-1/SES-16
lifts off at 4:25 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) on Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida to geostationary transfer orbit on Jan. 31,
2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/www.kenkremer.com




The weather forecast was for over 90% favorable conditions at launch time
vs. only 40% favorable yesterday, on Tuesday, Jan. 30.






The two stage 229-foot-tall (70-meter-tall) SpaceX Falcon 9
rocket will deliver GovSat-1/SES-16 to a supersynchronous transfer orbit for
GovSat – the SES and Luxembourg government joint venture.





GovSat-1, also known as SES-16, is the first satellite of
GovSat. It is uniquely
designed for exclusive use by governments and
institutions – including m
ilitary, humanitarian and maritime users.







GovSat-1 dignitaries
at 
Space Launch Complex 40  this morning posing with 
SpaceX
Falcon 9 rocket. SES CEO Karim
Michel Sabbagh, Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg Etienne Schneider, His and
Her Royal Highness the Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg, Prime Minister of Luxembourg 
Xavier
Bettel and CEO of GovSat Patrick Biewer.   Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/www.kenkremer.com










The highly
flexible payload featuring advanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities.



The over 4.5 ton GovSat-1/SES-16 communications satellite launching
Wednesday is a 50:50 joint venture between the Government of Luxembourg and
the commercial firm SES, the world’s leading satellite operator.





SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying GovSat-1/SES-16
is poised for liftoff at pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.  Launch targeted for Jan. 31, 2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/www.kenkremer.com

The multi-mission
satellite was built by prime contractor Orbital ATK. It has a design lifetime
of 15 years of operation in geostationary orbit. The spacecraft has a launch
mass of 4,230 kg (9326 lb).

“GovSat-1 has a diverse
mix of transponder sizes in terms of bandwidth per transponder, offering in
total 68 transponder-equivalent units of 36 MHz,” according to SES. 



“The highly flexible and
resilient GovSat-1 payload features advanced security capabilities and uses
dedicated frequencies in X-band and military Ka-band. GovSat-1 is equipped with
six high-powered fully steerable spot beams, a high-power X-band Global beam,
and features sixty-eight transponder equivalent units in total.”

GovSat-1 will be located
at the 21.5 degrees East orbital slot. 

It will serve Europe,
the Middle East and Africa, including substantial maritime coverage over the
Mediterranean and Baltic seas, and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.



Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of SpaceX Falcon
9 & Heavy, NASA,  ULA and more
space mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.





Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer –
ken
at kenkremer.com









Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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