WASHINGTON – A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched a Turkish communications satellite Jan 7 to kick off what may be the busiest year for the startup company

The Falcon 9 took off at 213 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 40 at Space Force Station Cape Canaveralm Eastern, more than 45 minutes in a four-hour launch window SpaceX delayed launch from the launch of the window due to an issue with a ground station remote from the launch site

The payload of the Falcon 9, the Turksat 5A communications satellite, separated from the upper stage of the Falcon 9 33 minutes after launch and entered a geostationary transfer orbit The first stage of the rocket, which previously carried the GPS SV03 satellite in June 2020 and launched two Starlink missions in September and October, landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic

The Turkish satellite operator Turksat ordered the Turksat 5A and 5B from Airbus Defense and Space in 2017 SpaceX was chosen to launch the two spaceships, the Turksat 5A weighed 3 at launch500 kilograms The spacecraft, based on the Eurostar E3000 bus, is equipped with an electric drive for both raising the orbit and holding stations

Turksat 5A operates in GEO at 31 degrees East, offering Ku-band broadcasting services in parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa The satellite will enter service in the second quarter of 2021

Turksat 5B weighing 4500 kilograms will carry Ka and Ku band payloads and operate in GEO from 42 degrees to the east.It is expected to also launch on a Falcon 9 later this year

The launch of Turksat 5A is the first of the year for SpaceX and the first global orbital launch in 2021 SpaceX performed 25 orbital launches with Falcon 9 vehicles in 2020, while an additional Falcon 9 was used for a suborbital demolition test of the Crew Dragon The company’s spacecraft launched in flight SpaceX has not announced a specific number of launches scheduled for 2021 However, unofficial manifestos suggest the company could do more than 30 Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches for government and business customers as well as its own Starlink satellites during the year

SpaceX is also continuing work on its next-generation Starship vehicle in Boca Chica, Texas.A Starship prototype could attempt an orbital launch later this year, depending on the progress the company makes on suborbital flights of other prototypes

SpaceX’s next scheduled orbital launch is no earlier than Jan 14, when a Falcon 9 takes off from Florida on the company’s first dedicated Smallsat ridesharing called Transporter-1, which carries several dozen Smallsats

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Source: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-turksat-5a/