SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches first ViaSat-3 satellite

Photo: SpaceX (Fair Use)

On April 30, SpaceX successfully launched the ViaSat-3 broadband satellite, which is focused on providing connectivity to the Americas.

The launch was carried out using a Falcon Heavy rocket, although it experienced delays due to severe weather conditions, including lightning and tornado warnings, Space News reported.

The Falcon Heavy took off at 8:26 p.m. Eastern from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This marked the sixth flight of the Falcon Heavy since its inaugural launch in 2018, as it ascended toward geostationary orbit (GEO).

Approximately three minutes after liftoff, both side boosters separated from the core stage. These boosters had previously been used in a total of nine previous missions. However, for this particular launch, SpaceX decided not to recover them in order to optimize the rocket’s performance.

The primary payload, the ViaSat-3 Americas satellite weighing 6,400 kilograms, was deployed into space around four hours and 32 minutes after liftoff. Following this, two additional rideshare payloads were also deployed.

The first was Arcturus, a broadband satellite weighing under 400 kilograms, constructed by Californian venture Astranis. The second was a cubesat from Gravity Space, a Washington-based company, carrying a communications payload.

Initially scheduled for April 18, the mission encountered undisclosed reasons for delay, pushing the launch to April 26 after a static-fire test. Subsequently, SpaceX further postponed the launch by a day to ensure the completion of data reviews.

Despite the setbacks caused by adverse weather conditions and subsequent delays, SpaceX successfully completed the mission, delivering the ViaSat-3 Americas satellite and the accompanying rideshare payloads to their intended orbits.

Written by staff