Powerful Canadian Comsat Thunders to Orbit Post Midnight on SpaceX Falcon 9 after Cape Thunder Delay: Photos

Streak Shot! SpaceX Falcon 9 blazes trail to geostationary orbit
carrying massive Telstar 18 VANTAGE
telecom satellite after launch at 12:45 a.m. EDT, September 10, 2018 from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station, FL – seen in this long duration
exposure photo taken
as the rocket soars past NASA’s iconic Vehicle
Assembly Building from the Max Brewer Bridge in
Titusville, Fl, through
residual thin clouds
with extended water reflections in the Indian River
Lagoon.  Credit:
Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Ken Kremer 
SpaceUpClose.com     10 September 2018

  A powerful Canadian commercial
communications satellite thundered to orbit through
residual thin clouds
just past midnight this morning on
an upgraded and newly manufactured SpaceX Falcon 9 booster from Cape Canaveral,
Florida, following the intervention of hefty thunderstorms that unexpectedly
doused the Spaceport and delayed the liftoff more than an hour from just before
midnight Sunday into the wee hours of Monday, September 10. STORY UPDATED with text/imagery.

Nevertheless the Falcon 9 rocket put
on a spectacular sky show after the clouds cleared and the rains moved on and successfully
delivered the Telstar 18v (or 18 Vantage) to its intended orbit for satellite
operator Telesat headquartered in Ottawa, Canada.  

Telestar 18v will serve hordes of
customers across the vast Asia-Pacific region.  

The thunderstorms delayed fueling of
the rocket.

announced today the successful launch of its new Telstar 18 VANTAGE high
throughput satellite (HTS) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket,” the company

Check out our Space UpClose photos of
the stunning launch.

Falcon 9 launch of Telstar 18v telecomsat from
Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in
at 12:45 a.m. EDT, September 10, 2018 –
in this remote camera view from pad 40
.  Credit: Ken

The satellite is healthy, deployed its
solar arrays and began on orbit thruster maneuvers as planned to reach its designated
final geostationary orbit (GEO) at an altitude of some 22,500 mi (36,000 km)
above Earth.

In fact this
was the second of two SpaceX launches conducted for Telesat over a time span about seven weeks apart at the Cape. The first being Telestar 19v on July

18 VANTAGE is the latest example of how Telesat’s innovative payload designs
provide our customers with the advantages they need to compete successfully in
today’s satellite service markets,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and
CEO, in a statement. 

18 VANTAGE is a state-of-the art spacecraft that not only replaces Telstar 18,
a satellite in wide use across Asia and the Pacific, but brings far greater
capabilities including Ku-band mobility coverage and HTS spot beams that will
allow Telesat to grow our presence in the region. We would like to thank SpaceX
for the successful launch of Telstar 18 VANTAGE and for their dedication and
professionalism throughout this mission.”

SpaceX engineers also recovered the
Falcon 9 first stage on an ocean-going platform and eventual reuse at some
point in the future.
Liftoff of the hefty 7.7 ton Telstar 18 VANTAGE high throughput
telecommunications satellite (HTS) which is designed to serve the Asia Pacific
region finally took place at 12:45 a.m. EDT (0445 GMT) September 10 from
Space launch Complex-40
on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL
– some 1 hour and 17 minutes later
than planned from the original pre-midnight launch time of 11:28 p.m. EDT Sunday,
Sept. 9.

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of Telstar
Space Launch Complex 40
at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida
at 12:45 a.m.
EDT, September 10
, 2018 – as seen from the Indian River Lagoon, Titusville with extended water reflections.  Credit:
Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com 

The new 229-foot tall (70-meter) Falcon
9 rocket rolled out Sunday afternoon to pad 40 with
Telstar 18v
encapsulated inside the payload fairing and was raised vertical.

Propellant loading began at T- Minus 35 minutes after
verification from the SpaceX Launch Director with the
liquid oxygen is chilled to about minus 340 degrees F (minus 206 degrees C).

The liquid oxygen
(LOX)/RP-1 fueled Falcon 9 first stage ignited with 1.8 million pounds of
liftoff thrust powered by nine Merlin 1D engines mounted in an octoweb

The first and
second stages separated 2 minutes and 33 seconds after liftoff.

The second stage ignited for the first time at 2 minutes 45
seconds followed by payload fairing deployment at 3 minutes 29 seconds. 

The rockets ascent to orbit was visible for more than 4 minutes during
the climb to orbit as it arced over eastwards through thin clouds over
the Atlantic Ocean towards Africa,
until disappearing
in the far distance behind thicker clouds near the Earth’s horizon. 

duration streak shot of Telstar 18v comsat launch from
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station pad 40 in Florida at 12:45 a.m.
EDT, September 10
, 2018 – as seen from Melbourne Beach. Credit; Julian Leek

Just minutes later, the Falcon 9’s
first stage booster made a successful touchdown on the ocean going
“Of Course I Still
Love You” drone ship
platform at sea –
prepositioned some 400 miles (640 km) off shore in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Overall the launch window extended for four hours which enabled
the launch team to wait for better weather conditions – which is exactly what
happened during near ideal conditions.

The 7,060 kilograms (15,564 pounds) Telstar 18v is one of heaviest
payload launched by a Falcon 9 to date.  The
recently launched Telstar 19v was literally just a tad heavier by some 20 kg (35
pounds) at
7,080 kilograms (15,600 lb).

concept of Telstar 18v

The satellite was deployed as planned from the second stage approximately
32 minutes after liftoff.  

It was delivered to a preliminary geosynchronous transfer orbit

The launch utilized the third production unit of the upgraded
Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 to fly from the Cape and the fourth overall. 

Telstar 18 VANTAGE is a Canadian owned commercial communications
satellite,  designed as an advanced high
throughput satellite (HTS) providing broadband services.

It will replace Telstar 18 currently on orbit.

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of Telstar 18v telecomsat from Space Launch Complex 40
at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida
at 12:45 a.m. EDT, September 10, 2018 – pierces
the overhead clouds as seen from the Indian River Lagoon, Titusville, with
extended water reflections.
Credit: Ken

The huge satellite was built by SSL (formerly Space Systems/Loral)
for Telesat, one of the world’s leading satellite operators. 

The satellite is reported healthy
by SSL and Telesat.

“SSL today announced that an advanced communications satellite it
built for Telesat, a leading global satellite operator, was launched yesterday
night and is successfully performing post-launch maneuvers according to plan,”
said SSL in a statement. 

“The satellite, called Telstar 18 VANTAGE,
deployed its solar arrays on schedule following its launch aboard a SpaceX
Falcon 9 launch vehicle from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.”

Telstar 18 VANTAGE is the third high throughput satellite
(HTS) in Telesat’s global fleet and the first with coverage over the Asia
Pacific region. 

“Its innovative payloads will provide Telesat’s customers
with a new level of performance and value to serve growing satellite broadband
requirements on land, at sea and in the air,” according to Telstar.  

Telstar 18v
will operate at Telesat’s 138 degrees West location, the same as the Telstar 18
satellite it is replacing. 

It will
serve customers throughout the Asia Pacific region.

18 VANTAGE will replace and expand on the capabilities of Telesat’s Telstar 18
satellite with its extensive C-band capacity over Asia, its Ku-band HTS spot
beams over Indonesia and Malaysia, and its five additional regional Ku-band
beams,” said Telstar in a statement. 

from 138 degrees East, the satellite’s coverage reaches across Asia all the way
to Hawaii – in both C and Ku-band – enabling direct connectivity between any
point in Asia and the Americas. Its innovative Ku-band payloads of HTS spot
beams and focused regional beams will provide customers operating in Southeast
Asia, Mongolia, Australia & New Zealand, and the North Pacific Ocean with
greater choice and flexibility to serve today’s bandwidth intensive

Telstar 18v
has a 15 year design lifetime.

“This is our second very advanced high throughput
satellite that we provided to Telesat this summer,” said Dario Zamarian, group
president of SSL. 

“I would like to thank Telesat for putting
its confidence in SSL and for working with us as a team to make this mission a
success. The exceptional performance and capacity SSL integrated into Telstar
18 VANTAGE demonstrates how we, together with our long term colleagues at
Telesat, are providing next-generation space systems that improve lives here on

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.

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

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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