Falcon 9 raises the bar: heaviest commercial commsat ever launched

SpaceX just set a record by boosting Telstar 19 VANTAGE, which at 15,600 pounds is the heaviest commercial commsat ever launched — and they also recovered the booster.  This was possible because of two things: first, the Block 5 vehicle (“Falcon 9 Full Thrust”) has significantly improved performance, and second, SpaceX was able to negotiate with its customers to give them a better deal on the launch if they will accept needing to carry more propellant of their own to finish raising the orbit for geosynchronous transfer.  This contributed to Telstar 19’s mass; it carries an unusually large propellant load.

The previous record for commercial commsat mass at payload separation was held by TerraStar 1, at 15,234 pounds, launched by an Ariane V nine years ago.

Telstar 19 VANTAGE will have Ku- and Ka-band beams servicing customers over a huge footprint, including Western Europe, Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, much of Canada (including some high priority customers in remote parts of Nunavut), the eastern US, the Caribbean, and much of South America.

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