Falcon 9 launches comsat for Turkmenistan

by | Apr 28, 2015 | Launches, Satellites | 0 comments

After a 49 minute delay to allow clouds to disperse, the TurkmenAlem 52E/MonacoSat satellite was launched at 2303 GMT on 27 April 2015 into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by a Falcon 9V1.1 launch vehicle flying from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA.  Built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, on behalf of the Turkmenistan Ministry of Communications, the TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSAT telecommunications satellite will allow Turkmenistan to operate its first national satellite telecommunications system.

The 4,731kg satellite uses Thales Alenia Space Spacebus 4000 C2 bus/platform, with a design life minimum of 16 years. The satellite will operate over Monaco 52 degrees East position in the Geostationary Arc with the rights provided by the Monaco-based satellite operator, Space System International – Monaco (SSI).  In return for this slot, this has acquired 12 transponders on the satellite at a discount.

As prime contractor for the construction contract which included in-orbit delivery contract, Thales Alenia Space chose SpaceX’s Falcon 9V1.1 to provide the launch.  The launch used the standard non-reusable first stage version of this vehicle as the maximum mass delivery performance was key to the mission.  The satellite is the first satellite made by Thales Alenia Space to feature “flexible” traveling wave tube amplifiers (TWTA) which have adjustable output power.

While the Falcon 9 family has now flown 18 times, SpaceX’s billionaire leader Elon Musk still feels the pressure.  On Twitter Musk wrote: “Rocket launch good, satellite in geo transfer orbit. Still so damn intense. Looking fwd to it feeling normal one day.”

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