On November 12, 2023, SpaceX achieved another milestone with the successful launch of two SES O3b mPOWER communication satellites. The launch, conducted from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, marks SpaceX’s 84th mission of the year, continuing its streak of frequent and reliable space missions.
Launch Details: The satellites were carried aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, which lifted off at 4:08 p.m. EST. Approximately 8.5 minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9’s first stage completed a vertical touchdown on SpaceX’s drone ship, “A Shortfall of Gravitas,” stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. This landing is part of SpaceX’s commitment to reusability, with this particular booster having flown on eight previous missions.
Satellite Deployment: Two hours post-liftoff, the rocket’s upper stage successfully deployed the first satellite into medium Earth orbit, approximately 5,000 miles above Earth. The second satellite followed seven minutes later, joining the first in orbit.
O3b mPOWER Constellation: The two Boeing-built spacecraft are part of the O3b constellation operated by SES S.A. of Luxembourg. This constellation, once complete with six satellites, is set to provide high-speed internet connectivity to a wide range of customers, including government and private industries. The full operational capability of the constellation is expected by late 2023.
Starlink and Future Missions: The Falcon 9 booster used in this mission has been instrumental in building out Starlink, SpaceX’s megaconstellation of broadband internet satellites, which currently consists of over 5,000 operational satellites. SpaceX’s ambitious launch schedule continues, with plans to conduct 144 missions in the following year.
This latest mission underscores SpaceX’s role in advancing global communication infrastructure, demonstrating its capability to execute frequent and high-stakes space missions. The SES O3b mPOWER satellites are poised to play a significant role in enhancing connectivity across the globe, marking another step forward in the era of global digital communication.