Intelsat 35e launch
|Launch mass||6,761 kg (14,905 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||July 5, 2017, 23:38 UTC|
|Rocket||Falcon 9 Full Thrust|
|Launch site||Kennedy LC-39A|
|Semi-major axis||42,165 km (26,200 mi)|
|Perigee altitude||35,785.1 km (22,235.8 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||35,803.3 km (22,247.1 mi)|
|Band||C band: high-throughput spot beams, plus wide beams|
Ku band: 39 (equiv.)
|Bandwidth||C band: 4,356 MHz|
Ku band: 1,404 MHz
Intelsat 35e, also known as IS-35e is an Intelsat high-throughput geostationary communications satellite designed and manufactured by Boeing on the Boeing-702MP platform. It was launched on 5 July 2017.
It is the fourth satellite of the EpicNG service and covers the Americas, Europe and Sub-Sahara Africa from the 34.5° west longitude. It has a mixed C band and Ku band, with the C band featuring EpicNG spot beams.
Intelsat 35e was designed and manufactured by Boeing on the Boeing 702MP satellite bus. It had a launch mass of 6,761 kg (14,905 lb), the largest Intelsat's currently active satellite, and has a design life of more than 15 years.
Its payload was the fourth high-throughput EpicNG deployment. The EpicNG is characterized by the implementation of frequency reuse due to a mix of frequency and polarization in small-spot beams. Not only applied to the classical HTS Ka band, but also applying the same technique in Ku band and C band. The EpicNG series also keep the use of wide beams to offer high throughput and broadcast capabilities in the same satellite.
In the case of Intelsat 35e, the C-band side has EpicNG spot beams with a total downlink bandwidth of 4,356 MHz. The spot beams offer high bandwidth for Europe, Sub-Sahara Africa, and the Americas. The Ku band has 39 transponder equivalents for a total downlink bandwidth of 1,404 MHz. Of the Ku three wide beams, one is covering the Caribbean, another Europe and the Mediterranean, and the third beams cover Europe and Northern Africa.
In July 2009, Intelsat became the first customer of the Boeing 702MP platform, when it placed an order for four spacecraft to be built, Intelsat 21, Intelsat 22, Intelsat 27 and the first EpicNG satellite, Intelsat 29e. In May 2013, Intelsat contracted for an additional four EpicNG satellites, the first of which would be Intelsat 33e. On July 8, 2014, Boeing announced a ninth 702MP order, and sixth EpicNG,[inconsistent] for the Intelsat 35e.
During 2014, Intelsat announced to service contract where the clients would start using Intelsat 903 at the 34.5° west position and then seamlessly transfer their services to Intelsat 35e as soon as it was commissioned into service.
Following two aborted launch attempts earlier in July, Intelsat 35e was launched on 5 July 2017 from the SpaceX-leased launch pad 39A in Florida. No attempt to recover the first-stage booster was made on this launch, as the first stage was flown in expendable mode in order to maximize the orbital energy imparted to this high-mass commsat.
For planning purposes, the launch had been planned for as early as 1Q2017. During an interview with Intelsat's CEO Stephen Spengler in February 2016, it was disclosed that Intelsat 35e was expected to launch in 2017. In August 2016, it emerged that the launch was assigned to a Falcon 9 Full Thrust mission scheduled for the first quarter of 2017. Performance improvements of the Falcon 9 vehicle family enable the launch of this 6-tonne satellite without upgrading to a Falcon Heavy variant.
Intelsat 35e was initially prepared for launch on 2 July 2017 from launch pad 39A, with a 59-minute-duration launch window. The first launch attempt was aborted at T-9 seconds in the countdown for a GNC-criteria violation. With insufficient time to recycle, the launch was scrubbed and next attempt was scheduled with a 24-hour delay.
This second launch attempt was made on 3 July, and it too was aborted by the onboard computers at the same T minus 9 seconds in the countdown. Having already been pushed to the end of the launch window with no time to recycle, this resulted in a scrub for the second consecutive day.
Intelsat 35e could have been rescheduled for a 4 July 2017 launch. However, in the event, the 4 July launch was postponed—per SpaceX, "out of an abundance of caution"—prior to loading propellants. A complete check of the systems both on the rocket and on the pad was performed.
Intelsat, one of the world’s largest geostationary satellite operators alongside SES, has one launch reserved on a newly-built Falcon 9 rocket in the first quarter of 2017, when the Intelsat 35e satellite will launch from Cape Canaveral.