SpaceX hits double header with Inmarsat I-6 F2

Friday February 17 at 10:59 pm E.T. from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

With a batch of Starlink satellites launching from Vandenberg California, tonight’s Inmarsat I-6 F2 mission makes Friday a double header for SpaceX. The British company’s satellite lifted off at 10:59 pm E.T. carrying a dual band six ton mobile communications relay station for London based company. About thirty-two minutes after lift off the I-6 F2 payload separated from the rocket and used its electric propulsion units to get to its geostationary orbit over the Atlantic Ocean.

Photo by: Kyle Montgomery – NHS

As per the usual nowadays the Falcon 9 rocket booster used to propel the payload to orbit successfully landed roughly eight minutes after launching back on a SpaceX drone ship off shore in the Atlantic. This is the third flight of this booster, 1077 and previously it flew the Crew-5 mission and the GPS III SV06 mission which was just thirty-one days ago.

This I-6 F2 satellite is identical to the Inmarsat-6 f1 sat that is due to to begin operations from its geostationary position over the Indian Ocean early this year, after its December 2021 launch by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Both are Airbus-built satellites equipped with a hybrid Ka-band and L-band payload to primarily provide mobile connectivity across maritime, aviation, and government markets. F1 will target the demand for high speed internet connectivity in Southeast Asia, while the F2 will address hotspots over the Atlantic Ocean according to Inmarsat’s CTO, Peter Hadinger.