Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Launch of Arabsat-6A on Falcon Heavy
Mission typeCommunications satellite
OperatorKing Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology
COSPAR ID2019-021A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.44186
Mission duration5 years, 3 months and 1 day (elapsed)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeTelecomm
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Launch mass6,465 kg [1]
Start of mission
Launch dateApril 11, 2019, 22:35 UTC
RocketFalcon Heavy
Launch siteKennedy LC-39A
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric[1]
Longitude30.5° E[2]
Arabsat-6G program
Hellas Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat-1 [3] →

Arabsat-6A is a geostationary communications satellite operated by Arabsat.[4] The satellite was built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems on a modernized A2100 bus.[5] The satellite was successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center LC-39A aboard Falcon Heavy on April 11, 2019.[6][7]


Arabsat-6A and SaudiGeoSat-1/HellasSat-4 are the two satellites of the Arabsat-6G program, ordered by the Arab League to supply the communications needs of member states.[8]

Contracts to build the two satellites were awarded to Lockheed Martin Space Systems in April 2015. Arabsat ultimately awarded the launch contract for Arabsat-6A to SpaceX for a Falcon Heavy flight with no expendable boosters.[9] The Falcon Heavy was chosen over the Falcon 9 due to its far superior thrust; the extra boost would extend the satellite's operational lifespan from 15 years to 18-20 years.[10]


Arabsat 6A is based on an updated version of the A2100 bus and is considered among the most advanced communications satellites built.[11] The spacecraft utilizes fixed and steerable Ku-band and Ka-band transponders to provide TV and radio services to the Middle East and North Africa from its station at 30.5°E.[12]


Arabsat-6A was launched aboard the first operational Falcon Heavy on 11 April 2019 at 22:35 UTC from Kennedy Space Center LC-39A.[6] Following a successful launch, the twin side boosters separated from the center core and returned to land at Landing Zones 1 and 2, while the center core completed its mission and landed on Of Course I Still Love You. En route to port after a successful landing, the center core tipped over in the rough seas, and was destroyed. Approximately 34 minutes after launch, the Arabsat-6A was released from the second stage and began a 17-day process to reach its operational orbit.[12]

On June 15, 2021, the 4-tonne second stage re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, its orbit having gradually decayed due to atmospheric drag, with an uncontrolled splash down in the Coral Sea east of Australia[13]


  1. ^ a b Arabsat-6A. Gunter Dirk Krebs, Gunter's Space Page. Accessed: 17 October 2018.
  2. ^ Arabsat and KACST sign contracts with Lockheed Martin & Arianespace. Arabsat. News Release 1 January 2015.
  3. ^ Lockheed Martin Completes Assembly on Arabsat's Newest Communications Satellite. Lockheed Martin. 20 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Upcoming Satellites". Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  5. ^ "SpaceX Delays Falcon Heavy's First Commercial Launch of ArabSat-6A to 10 April". The First Post. April 9, 2019. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Skoneki, Marco Santana, Mark. "SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy into space". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved 2019-04-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "Arabsat-6A Mission". YouTube.com. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  8. ^ "HOME - Arabsat". www.arabsat.com. Retrieved 2020-06-05.
  9. ^ "Arabsat 6A". space.skyrocket.de. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  10. ^ Caleb, Henry (11 April 2019). "Arabsat CEO: Falcon Heavy gives our satellite extra life – SpaceNews". Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  11. ^ Arabsat-6A Satellite Moves Closer to Launch. Kendall Russell, Satellite Today. 22 February 2018.
  12. ^ a b Clark, Stephen. "SpaceX's Falcon Heavy successful in commercial debut – Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  13. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Jonathan McDowelll on Twitter". Twitter. Twitter Ltd. Retrieved 15 June 2021.