Tampa, Florida For Saudi Arabia-based fleet operator Arabsat, SpaceX launched the Badr-8 TV broadcast and telecoms satellite on May 27. It included a jamming-resistant optical communications payload demonstration. The 4,500-kg satellite launched at 12:30 a.m. Eastern aboard a Falcon 9 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, and it disengaged from the rocket 37 minutes later in geosynchronous transfer orbit.A drone ship was utilized by the rocket’s reusable first stage to make its 14th landing after the mission, which was postponed from May 24 due to bad weather. A few hours after launch, Airbus Defence and Space, which developed Badr-8 based on its Eurostar Neo platform, proclaimed it successful.
The 17-kilowatt satellite will need additional time to go to its 26 degrees east orbital slot before it can replace Arabsat’s 15-year-old Badr-6 satellite using all-electric propulsion. After a thruster problem caused a brief outage in February, Badr-6, which is operating at the end of its 15-year design life, revealed it’s advancing years. Over the course of its 15-year design life, Badr-8 is intended to replace and increase Arabsat’s C-band and Ku-band capacity throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. Airbus created Teleo, an experimental photonics feeder link, with assistance from France’s space agency. It is also carried by the satellite. Teleo, according to Airbus, is intended to deliver gigabit-speed optical communications from orbit to the ground.
According to Airbus, optical communications are more resistant to signal jamming than traditional radio frequency technology, and the demonstration is expected to be essential in increasing the manufacturer’s capabilities in this field. Ten satellites spread across four orbital slots make up Arabsat’s fleet. Arabsat chose Thales Alenia Space, a European rival of Airbus, to build Arabsat 7A, which will replace Arabsat 5A, which launched in 2010 and has a projected service life of 15 years.