Falcon-9 launch

Picture copyright

Picture caption

SpaceX used certainly one of its “recycled” Falcon 9s to loft GovSat-1

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, has simply watched certainly one of his nation’s satellites go into orbit.

He was at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to see the launch of GovSat-1, which can be offering telecommunications companies to the army and institutional prospects.

The Luxembourg authorities has a 50-50 share within the venture.

Its accomplice is SES, the main industrial satellite tv for pc operator that bases itself within the Grand Duchy.

Picture copyright

Picture caption

GovSat is a three way partnership between SES and the Luxembourg authorities

GovSat-1 is one other instance of Luxembourg’s burgeoning function within the area sector.

Its deputy prime minister, Etienne Schneider, who was additionally on the Cape, has just lately positioned the nation on the forefront of plans to go mine asteroids.

GovSat-1 rode to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket. It’s going to attempt to forge a brand new market in satellite tv for pc communications.

It’s a industrial platform and can promote capability on its transponders – however solely to governments and government-approved businesses.

The satellite tv for pc makes use of frequencies which might be reserved for the army, and deploys the type of refined anti-jamming options, and encryption you’ll usually discover on nationwide army platforms.

“The novelty right here is that we take the capabilities that you simply discover in nationwide programmes and mix them, principally, with the accessibility and innovation you discover in industrial programmes,” Patrick Biewer, the CEO of GovSat, the public-private three way partnership set as much as run the brand new service, instructed BBC Information.

The Luxembourg authorities will clearly be utilizing GovSat-1, and certainly a few of this capability can be supplied to different Nato nations. Luxembourg sees GovSat-1 as a part of its contribution to Nato members’ dedication to all attempt to spend a minimum of 2% of GDP on defence.

Past the army, GovSat hopes to serve businesses working in actions similar to border management and civil defence.

Picture copyright

Picture caption

Xavier Bettel and Etienne Schneider had been VIP friends on the Cape

The spacecraft will sit 36,000km above the equator at 21.5 levels East. Its Ka-band and X-band frequencies can be concentrated over Europe, components of Africa, the Center East, in addition to maritime areas within the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Govsat shouldn’t be confused with the Govsatcom initiative being pursued by the European Commission.

Govsatcom is the subsequent massive area venture for the EU after its sat-nav (Galileo) and Earth remark (Copernicus/Sentinel) programmes.

It could see member states pool their satellite tv for pc communications sources.

On one stage, Luxembourg’s GovSat enterprise shares some DNA with Brussels’ ambitions however it’s a separate entity. “You could possibly say we’re barely forward of the sport,” a GovSat spokesman mentioned.

Picture copyright

Picture caption

GovSat-1 separates from the Falcon on the finish of the flight

SpaceX used certainly one of its “recycled” Falcon 9s to loft GovSat-1.

The rocket had beforehand launched – and landed – after placing a US nationwide safety payload in orbit in Could final yr.

SpaceX didn’t choose this time for a managed return of the Falcon booster to a touchdown pad or a ship.

With this flight out of the way in which, the launcher firm can now think about preparations on the Cape for the lift-off of its Falcon Heavy car.

This rocket is scheduled to make its maiden flight next Tuesday. The Heavy is actually three Falcon 9s strapped collectively.

The configuration would make it by far essentially the most highly effective launcher on this planet, able to placing as much as 64 tonnes in low-Earth orbit.

Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and comply with me on Twitter: @BBCAmos