In its 23rd rocket launch and landing of 2022, Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched a satellite into orbit that will be operated by the Egyptian business Nilesat.
Nilesat 301 (the geostationary communications satellite, weighing about four metric tonnes) was launched into a geosynchronous transfer orbit by a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Wednesday at 5:04 p.m. ET, according to the company’s website.
According to Florida Today, SpaceX is expected to meet its goal of 50 launches this year with its spaceship, focusing on the company’s several initiatives.
The satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space in a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%) for Egyptian operator Nilesat, has passed all of its testing, including in-orbit acceptance tests.
Nilesat 301 will replace Nilesat 201, which will be phased down in 2028, and has a predicted lifespan of at least 15 years.
According to Nilesat CEO Ahmed Anis, the new satellite will provide expanded broadband internet coverage across Egypt, including remote areas, new projects, infrastructure projects, and new urban communities, as well as gas and oil fields in the eastern Mediterranean.
According to the Thales website, the satellite would “reinforce Nilesat’s commercial leadership in broadcast services over the MENA region while also providing new services over southern Africa and the Nile Basin.”
This was the booster’s seventh launch and landing.
It had previously backed the launch of two GPS satellites and two commercial crewed missions: the Inspiration4 mission to Earth orbit in September 2021 and Ax-1, which became the first all-private astronaut flight to the International Space Station in April.
According to the company, it also assisted in the launch of two Starlink missions.
“Nilesat 301 may move antennas to change coverage regions to meet the needs of African countries, which are considered new markets for Nilesat,” Anis continued.
The new satellite has 38 transponders, compared to 26 on the current Nilesat 201 satellite, which was also built by Thales Alenia Space.
Furthermore, Nilesat 301, in conjunction with the Egyptian satellite Tiba 1 launched in November 2019, will be able to supply and assure the satellite internet service’s continuity and stability.
The innovative technology of the new satellite allows it to recognize interference sources and handle satellite jamming on its own.
According to Anis, the Nilesat 301 took about two and a half years to develop.
A brief history of Egyptian satellites
With the launch of NileSat 101 in 1998, Egypt became the first Arab country to deploy a telecommunications satellite into space. Nilesat 102, which delivered hundreds of satellite TV channels, was launched in 2000.
Egypt launched EgyptSat 1, the country’s first remote-sensing satellite, in 2007. EgyptSat 1 was developed in collaboration between Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS) and Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye State Design Office.
EgyptSat2, the country’s second remote-sensing satellite, was launched in April 2014 but lost in space in February 2015. Egypt replaced it four years later with EgyptSat A, which was launched from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome, a leased spaceport in Kazakhstan.
Egypt established the Egyptian Space Agency in August 2019 as a public economic entity with legal standing, reporting to the president.
The agency’s mission is to develop, transfer, and own space technology development, localization, and self-capabilities in order to build and launch satellites from Egyptian soil.
After delayed the launch twice owing to technical issues, Egypt successfully launched the telecommunications satellite Tiba 1 into space in 2019.
Egypt plans to launch two remote sensing satellites in 2022, according to Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, who also stressed that the country will make no effort to foster multilateral collaboration in the space field.
Also read: iPhone iOS 16 – Big Updates!
Private Contracts with SpaceX
Because SpaceX is still a private company, it functions according to the will and decisions of its owners and board members, who are in charge of its administration. The corporation has a “ride share” scheme that allows numerous companies to use a single launch for various enterprises, with each company paying for their cargo hauls from Cape Canaveral.
It also has a Commercial spacewalk program that has started training private crews and aspiring astronauts who will journey into space without the supervision of a national agency. The space business wants to extend its Polaris program, which focuses on commercial and private flights, with Starship playing a major part in the future.
Launching Starlink satellites is also one of SpaceX’s major projects.
To begin with, SpaceX is a private corporation that performs many of its flights as part of contracts with other companies that want to launch their technology into space for various reasons. The corporation accepts various missions and launches as long as it pays for them and does not jeopardize SpaceX’s missions.