SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Launches AMOS-17, Ship Catches Half of Payload Fairing

A SpaceX Falcon 9 booster launched Spacecom’s AMOS-17 communications satellite from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Tuesday. The company’s Ms. Tree vessel caught half of the rocket’s payload fairing in a net as it descended under a parachute.

It was the second recovery of a fairing half by the net-equipped ship. A full fairing costs about $6 millions to manufacture.

The AMOS-17 satellite was designed by Spacecom using Boeing’s advanced digital payload technology to provide increased connectivity to Africa. With its extensive abilities, flexibility, and reliability, AMOS-17 is poised to support growth in a variety of broadcast, broadband, mobility, and data services throughout the African continent. It is being deployed to the 17E orbital position, right over central Africa, to optimize service in the region.

AMOS-17 will operate in the C, Ku and Ka bands with a digital channelizer to provide fixed high throughput (HTS) C-band coverage to Africa, steerable HTS Ka-band coverage to anywhere from China to Brazil, and extensive Ku-band coverage throughout Africa with additional coverage in Europe, the Middle East, China, and India.

The satellite’s digital processing capabilities provide connectivity between all of AMOS-17’s beams in all available bands in any combination. These capabilities also support suppression of interference, flexible capacity allocation, and other digital processing features for improved service. Additionally, all command and control channels, as well as telemetry, are encrypted for maximum security.

AMOS-17 is planned to be in operation for a minimum of 20 years, enabling long-lasting and stable service.

The Falcon 9’s first stage was flown for the third time after flying during the Telstar-19 VANTAGE mission in July 2018 and the Es’hail-2 mission in November 2018. The stage was not equipped with grid fins and landing legs for Tuesday’s flight.