Recap of SpaceX’s Weekend Double Header (EUTELSAT 3D & Starlink missions)

SpaceX launched both its Eutelsat 36D (telecom satellite) mission from the Kennedy Space Center and Starlink mission from Cape Canaveral within the span of four hours on Saturday, March 30th.

(Kennedy Space Center & Cape Canaveral, Florida) On Saturday, March 30th, SpaceX launched both the EUTELSAT 3D mission to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) from the Kennedy Space Center and a batch of 23 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit (LEO) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida; the launches took place within a four-hour time span.

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Spring break crowds gathered to watch SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch from LC-29A with EUTELSAT 36D courtesy of spaceflight photographer John Kraus @johnkrausphotos.

At 5.52pm EDT on Saturday, a Falcon 9 rocket sent Eutelsat’s (ETL.PA) 36D telecommunications satellite - which was built by Airbus - to geosynchronous transfer orbit from Launch Complex 39-A (LC-39A) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, marking the 12th launch of the first stage booster supporting the mission, which previously launched CRS-26, OneWeb Launch 16, Intelsat IS-40e, O3b mPOWER, Ovzon 3, and six Starlink missions, according to SpaceX.

Less than four hours later, at 9.30pm EDT, another Falcon 9 launched 23 of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, marking the 18th flight for the first stage booster, which previously launched CRS-22, Crew-3, Turksat 5B, Crew-4, CRS-25, Eutelsat HOTBIRD 13G, mPOWER-a, PSN SATRIA, Telkomsat Merah Putih 2 and now nine Starlink missions, per SpaceX.

Both Falcon 9 first stages that launched on Saturday returned to Earth as planned, landing on SpaceX drone ships at sea about 8.5 minutes after liftoff, according to Space.com.

Eutelsat 36D was deployed into GTO about 34 minutes after launch; once it's up and running (at the 36-degree East slot), the satellite will provide television broadcasting services to customers in Europe, Russia and Africa, according to EverydayAstronaut.com. Specifically, Eutelsat 3D will provide more than 1,100 television channels to millions of homes, per spaceflight photographer Michael Cain on Instagram, @mdcainjr.

SpaceX is targeting this evening (April 1) for the launch of an additional 22 Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California; the launch was initially scheduled for Thursday, March 28th but has been rescheduled twice since then (including on this past Saturday evening) due to bad weather.

Newsfeed: Sunday, April 14, 2024