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SpaceX Picks Up New Customers for the Falcon Heavy

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-10-26 23:38:42

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket seems to be a hit with satellite companies []

When the Falcon Heavy rocket launched [] for the first time in February, some critics of the company wondered what exactly the rocket's purpose was. After all, the company's Falcon 9 rocket had become powerful enough that it could satisfy the needs of most commercial customers. One such critic even told me, "The Falcon Heavy is just a vanity project for Elon Musk."

[...] Last week [], the Swedish satellite company Ovzon signed a deal for a Falcon Heavy launch as early as late 2020 for a geostationary satellite mission. And just on Thursday, ViaSat announced that it, too, had chosen the Falcon Heavy to launch one of its future ViaSat-3 satellite missions in the 2020 to 2022 timeframe.

[...] In explaining their rocket choice, both Ovzon and ViaSat cited the ability of the Falcon Heavy to deliver heavy payloads "direct"—or almost directly—to geostationary orbit, an altitude nearly 36,000km above the Earth's surface. Typically, rockets launching payloads bound for geostationary orbit drop their satellites into a "transfer" orbit, from which the satellite itself must spend time and propellant to reach the higher orbit. (More on these orbits can be found here []).

[...] The demonstration flight of the Falcon Heavy apparently convinced not only the military of the rocket's direct-to-geo capability but satellite fleet operators as well. The Falcon Heavy rocket now seems nicely positioned to offer satellite companies relatively low-cost access to orbits they desire, with a minimum of time spent getting there in space.

See also: SpaceX heading to two to four Falcon Heavy paid launches per year []

Related: How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently []
Falcon Heavy Maiden Launch Successful (Mostly) []
SpaceX Confirms it Lost the Center Core of the Falcon Heavy []
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System? []
NASA's Chief of Human Spaceflight Rules Out Use of Falcon Heavy for Lunar Station []
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Could Launch Japanese and European Payloads to Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway []

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