SpaceX is preparing to launch the first communications satellite funded by Turkmenistan on Monday.
The weather is looking favorable for the launch. There is a 60% chance of favorable weather, according to the most recent launch weather forecast provided by the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron. The main weather concerns are thick clouds and cumulus clouds. If the launch is postponed to Tuesday, there will be 30% chance of favorable weather conditions on that day.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry the satellite. The rocket is scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 40 in the evening at 6:14 p.m. ET.
The satellite, loaded on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, is manufactured by Thales Alenia Space, a France-based company. The 9,000-pound satellite is designed to provide television, Internet, cellular data, and phone service for consumers in Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan, which was part of Soviet Union in the past, currently has to rely on Russian satellites for its communications needs. The country has more than five million residents. In a press release, Thales Alenia Space said that the TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSAT “will allow Turkmenistan to operate its first national satellite telecommunications system, ensuring enhanced, secure telecommunications for the country.”
Thales Alenia Space has built the satellite on a Thales Alenia Space Spacebus 4000 C2 platform. At launch, it will have a weight of 4,500 kg. According to the company, the satellite’s designed life is about 15 years.
The telecommunications coverage zone of the satellite includes Europe, Central Asia up to the Chinese border, and all of Africa. Monaco’s 52°E orbital position will be used by the Turkmenistan Ministry of Communications via the Monaco-based satellite operator, Space Systems International – Monaco (SSI).
Originally, the launch of TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSAT was scheduled for November of 2014, but authorities had to reschedule the launch to April of 2015 as a result of a crowded launch manifest.
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