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SpaceX sets a new doubleheader record launch for SES
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SpaceX sets a new doubleheader record launch for SES
by Jennifer Briggs
Space Coast FL (SPX) Mar 18, 2023

Establishing a new record of only four hours between a launch of Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, earlier today and a pair of geostationary-bound satellites for SES from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), Florida.

A Luxembourg-based telecommunications company, SES S.A., sent two C-band television broadcasting satellites atop a 229-foot-tall (70-meter) SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Friday, March 17, at the opening of their 38-minute launch window at 7:38 p.m. EDT (2338 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), CCSFS, Florida, into a transfer orbit known as "sub-synchronous" with an apogee, or high point, below the satellites' final operating altitude of 22,000 miles in geostationary orbit (GEO), to provide digital broadcasting services to North America.

Inside a Falcon 9 rocket's payload fairing are the Northrop Grumman-built SES 18 and SES 19 satellites, which are stacked one on top of the other. Each satellite has two solar arrays, a lifespan of 15 years, and is equipped with a high-quality C-band payload, weighing a combined 15,995 pounds (7,255 kilograms).

These two satellites make up the final of SES's six-craft mission to replace orbital assets after the FCC released C-band frequencies for 5G repurposing.

While freeing up the 300 megahertz of bandwidth now designated for use by 5G operators, the new C-band satellites will operate in a smaller swath of frequency, enabling the broadcast of digital TV services to around 120 million homes in the United States.

This mission is the sixth flight to space for the reusable first stage B1069, and about eight and a half minutes after liftoff, the first stage booster began its vertical descent to the drone ship "Just Read the Instructions" (JRTI) parked about 420 miles (about 670 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral, marking SpaceX's 106th consecutive successful booster landing.

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