Bulgaria’s first satellite is set to launch on Friday, June 23, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. The mission will be carried out by a used Falcon 9 rocket. It was initially scheduled to launch on June 19, but, was delayed due to SpaceX’s need to replace a ”fairing valve” on the rocket.
BulgariaSat-1, the first satellite of its kind for Bulgaria will be sent to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) by the Falcon 9’s ‘’Full Thrust’’ rocket.
According to Space Flight Insider, ‘’Whenever the rocket does get off the ground, it will be sending the SSL-built BulgariaSat-1 into a (GTO). Once the satellite detaches from the upper stage of the Falcon 9, it will use onboard thrusters to circularize its orbit at some 22,300 miles (35,900 kilometers) over the 2 degrees East location.’’
As stated in the event’s press release, BulgariaSat-1 is a geostationary communications satellite built by SSL in Palo Alto, Calif., the satellite will provide direct-to-home television (DTH) and data communications services to Southeastern Europe and other European regions.
BulgariaSat-1 will be located at the Bulgarian orbital position at 1.9 degrees East longitude, it will provide reliable satellite communications solutions to various types of consumers.
The satellite’s payload includes the following: a 30 Broadcast Satellite Service (BSS), Ku-band transponders and two Fixed Satellite Service (FSS), and Ku-band transponders, to be fully equipped to meet needs of high-quality HDTV and Ultra HDTV broadcasting, and other communications applications.
According to SpaceX, Falcon 9’s first stage for the BulgariaSat-1 mission previously supported the Iridium-1 mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base earlier in January. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt a landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The satellite operator, Bulgaria Sat, is the sister company of a Belgian TV, internet and mobile communication company, Bulsatcom. The mission cost is about $250 million. SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk has tweeted about the price difference his company offers to satellite operators, saying: ”$300M cost diff between SpaceX and Boeing/Lockheed exceeds avg value of satellite, so flying with SpaceX means satellite is basically free.”
$300M cost diff between SpaceX and Boeing/Lockheed exceeds avg value of satellite, so flying with SpaceX means satellite is basically free https://t.co/CaOulCf7ot
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 16, 2017