Space.com described the mission as follows, “SpaceX launched a commercial communications satellite to orbit on Monday (Feb. 6) and landed a rocket on a ship at sea. A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Amazonas Nexus satellite for the Spanish company Hispasat lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Monday at 8:32 p.m. EST (0332 GMT on Feb. 7).
The Falcon 9’s first stage came back to Earth for a vertical touchdown 8.5 minutes after liftoff as planned. The landing occurred on the SpaceX droneship Just Read the Instructions, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles off the Florida coast.
Amazonas Nexus will now spend more than six months making its way to geostationary orbit, about 22,200 miles (35,700 kilometers) above Earth. Hispasat will perform a few weeks of checkouts with the spacecraft, then slip it into its final orbit and put the satellite to work providing internet service to broad swathes of the globe for at least the next 15 years.
Amazonas Nexus “will cover the entire American continent, Greenland and the North and South Atlantic corridors and will be focused on connectivity services in remote areas and in air and maritime mobility environments,” Hispasat wrote in a prelaunch statement(opens in new tab).
Shortly after Amazonas Nexus was deployed, the U.S. Space Force revealed that it has a payload integrated into the satellite — a “high-bandwidth protected communications transponder” manifested as part of the military’s Pathfinder 2 mission.
“The goal of the Pathfinder series is to demonstrate affordable bandwidth acquisition by gaining long-term access to transponder assets from commercial satellite providers,” Space Force officials wrote in an emailed statement.
“Pathfinder 2 will improve the diversity, flexibility and resiliency of the U.S. Space Force’s satellite communication architecture and provide increased capability to the warfighter,” they added. “This mission utilizes existing commercial technologies to demonstrate innovative, affordable and resilient wideband alternative satellite communications.”
Please refer to SpaceX Launch site for a replay…
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