A powerful communication satellite named EchoStar 19 was launched into orbit by a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. This satellite will offer broadband internet service to rural and passenger jets consumers across the US and parts of Central America and Canada that do not have any access to fiber or cable networks.
Reports say that the launch of the satellite ran 46 minutes late due to a last second technical issue. The 1.6 million pounds Atlas 5, which is equipped with three strap-on solid fuel boosters to offer extra power to it, was launched at 2:13 p.m. EST. The rocket quickly lifted off from the launch complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The rocket accelerated rapidly as it used the liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The launch was a show for the residents, beachgoers, and tourists in the area and left a long trail of exhaust as it climbed out to the sky and disappeared. The Russian built RD-180 engine powering the rocket offered flawless performance.
The on-board propulsion system of EchoStar 19 will be used to circularize the orbit at attitudes of 22,300 miles. In those geosynchronous orbits, satellites will look stationary in the sky and this will help to use fixed antennas on Earth stations. Along with offering service to the rural areas that are not wired for broadband, the satellite also offers 200 megabits-per-second internet access to passenger jets.
“It’ll provide capacity primarily for our consumer business in the U.S. as well as additional capacity in Canada, Mexico and other countries in Central America,” said Pradman Kaul, President of HughesNet. “Subscriber online time and video consumption have continued to increase. And today’s subscribers are looking for faster speeds and higher data caps. With HughesNet Gen5, we’ll be offering more data and materially higher speeds than we are today.”
The Ka-band antennas of EchoStar 19 will offer 183 spot beams and 22 gateway beams, which will cover North America. It is expected that the satellite will have a lifetime of 15 years. “Our target markets will continue to be the geographies not penetrated by cable and fiber, and we believe that the improved service offering will allow us to expand our addressable market of underserved homes,” Kaul said.
“We intend to announce our Gen5 service plans and pricing in January, followed by pre-launch marketing. We are obviously very excited about launching the new Gen5 service on (EchoStar 19).”