SpaceX Launches Telstar 18 VANTAGE Communications Satellite

Falcon 9 with the Telstar 18 VANTAGE satellite aboard. (SpaceX webcast)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched the Telstar 18 VANTAGE communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida early Monday morning.

The launch took place at 12:45 a.m. EDT after being delayed 77 minutes due to lightning in the area. The Falcon 9 first stage landed on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

It was SpaceX’s 15th launch of the Falcon 9 booster and the 16th flight overall in 2018. The company also conducted the maiden flight of its Falcon Heavy in February.

Telstar 18 VANTAGE is the third high throughput satellite (HTS) in Telesat’s global fleet and the first with coverage over the Asia Pacific region. Its innovative payloads will provide Telesat’s customers with a new level of performance and value to serve growing satellite broadband requirements on land, at sea and in the air.

Built by SSL, a Maxar Technologies Company, Telstar 18 VANTAGE will replace and expand on the capabilities of Telesat’s Telstar 18 satellite through its extensive C-band capacity over Asia, its Ku-band HTS spots over Indonesia and Malaysia, and its five additional Ku-band beams. Located at 138 degrees East, the coverage of Telesat’s newest satellite reaches across Asia all the way to Hawaii – in both C and Ku-bands – enabling direct connectivity between any point in Asia and the Americas. Its Ku-band payloads of HTS spot beams and focused regional beams will provide customers operating in Southeast Asia, Mongolia, Australia & New Zealand, and the North Pacific Ocean with greater choice and flexibility to serve today’s bandwidth intensive applications.

Telesat VANTAGE satellites combine focused regional beams with powerful HTS spot beams enabling users to maximize throughput and spectral efficiency while optimizing network performance. By implementing these advances on Telstar 18 VANTAGE, Telesat customers across the Asia Pacific region will have a competitive edge in meeting growing demand for satellite broadband from mobility markets – both aero and maritime, enterprise network operators and from leading telecom companies.

Telstar 18 VANTAGE is expected to enter commercial service this fall after it has completed orbit raising and on-orbit testing. The satellite has a 15-year design life.

Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

SpaceX’s SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is a world-class launch site that builds on a strong heritage. The site, located at the north end of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, was used for many years to launch Titan rockets, among the most powerful in the U.S. fleet. SpaceX took over the facility in May 2008.

The center of the complex is composed of the concrete launch pad and flame diverter system. Surrounding the pad are four lightning towers, propellant storage tanks, and the integration hangar. Before launch, Falcon 9’s stages and payload are housed inside the hangar. The payload is mated to the Falcon 9 inside SLC-40’s hangar on the transporter erector. The rocket and payload are then rolled out from the hangar to the launch pad and lifted to a vertical position.