SpaceX is set to launch Egypt’s Nilesat 301 communications satellites on Wednesday, June 8th. The launch will be on Falcon 9 rocket by 5:04 pm ET. The Egypt satellites are built by Franco-Italian aerospace company Thales Alenia Space. Where Nilesat 301 is a geostationary satellite weighing around 4.1 tons (~9000 lb).
The communications satellite is designed to provide large swaths in the locations – of East Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, and Sudan. Communications and digital broadcasting will be made available in these locations. The capabilities of Nilesat 201 will be augmented. The satellites were first launched in 2010, and the Nilesat 101 and 102 retired in 2013 and 2018.
Targeting Wednesday, June 8 for launch of Nilesat 301 to orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida. The launch window opens at 5:04 p.m. ET and weather for liftoff is 60% favorable → https://t.co/WOrZroUbmB
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 7, 2022
Space X will be using Falcon 9 booster for the launch. Originally it was supposed to launch Nilesat 301, but now the details are unknown. Last month SpaceX was supposed to launch a geostationary satellite on B1049, which would expend the aging booster in the process. It has to be noted that SpaceX boosters are not equally capable with respect to reuse capabilities. Despite the older boosters having strong capabilities, the Block 5 boosters could be more difficult to launch and reuse than new boosters. Many changes like refinements and minor upgrades are required. SpaceX lost B 1048 and B1050 after failed attempts to reuse, while the two Block 5 boosters – B1046 and B1047 have unintentionally expended.
B1049-11 will have to wait until **November** to be expended. The mission it'll fly on hasn't been disclosed yet and I'm no one to do so out here but it'll be also a commsat, nothing really exciting 😅
— Alejandro Alcantarilla Romera (Alex) (@Alexphysics13) May 26, 2022
Boosters and satellites
Of the first five Falcon 9 Block 5 boosters, only B1049 remains, and highlighting SpaceX’s lack of interest in the older booster, B1049 last launched almost nine months ago in September 2021. Initially, Alex Alcantarilla reported that SpaceX was planning to launch B1049 one last time in support of an O3B mPOWER communications satellite launch in mid-2022. B1049 then shuffled to Nilesat 301 after O3B’s launch plans either slipped or changed. Now, the honor of B1049’s 11th and final launch has once again slipped to a different mission – supposedly as far away as November 2022.
Nilesat 301 was originally scheduled to launch in Q1 and April 2022 before satellite production and shipment delays pushed the mission into June, which could have also contributed to the booster assignment shuffle. For its latest June 8th target, SpaceX has chosen Falcon 9 booster B1062 to launch the Egyptian satellite just 40 days after launching a batch of Starlink satellites. Nilesat 301 will be B1062’s seventh launch and landing attempt since November 2020 and sixth launch in 12 months.
Update after launch:
It was a sucessful launch. The Flacon 9 finished its seventh launch and landing for its first stage. The Falcon 9’s first stage came back to Earth about 8 minutes and 45 seconds after launch, touching down on the SpaceX droneship Just Read the Instructions, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles off the Florida coast.