Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is targeting Jan. 3, 2014 for their next rocket launch – at least according to Patrick Air Force Base and the 45th Space Wing who is tasked with providing launch support and security to the Eastern Range for every launch from Florida’s Space Coast.
The mission calls for the private company to launch the Thaicom-6 telecommunications satellite, which is commissioned by Asian satellite operator Thaicom Public Limited Company (PLC), and will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) atop SpaceX’s new upgraded 224-foot tall Falcon-9 v1.1 rocket.
Launch of the 7,330 pound hybrid C-band and Ku-band satellite is currently scheduled for NET Jan. 3, 2014 at 5:57 p.m. EST, with the launch window extending until 7:23 p.m. EST.
The satellite, which was manufactured and tested by Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Virginia, was designed based on Orbital’s very successful GEOStar-2 satellite platform, which can accommodate all types of commercial communications payloads and is compatible with all major commercial launchers.
Once launched the satellite will be placed in a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and will be operated at 78.5 degrees East Longitude. Thaicom-6 is equipped with 18 C-band and eight Ku-band transponders to provide service coverage to the growing satellite television market in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Southern Africa (including Madagascar).
“This deal highlights the confidence that satellite operators have in SpaceX capabilities, and is the latest example of the effect SpaceX is having on the international commercial launch market,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk when the deal between SpaceX and Thaicom was announced in 2011. “Asia is a critical market and SpaceX is honored to support its growing launch needs with a reliable US-based solution.”
SpaceX launched their first GEO communications satellite, the SES-8 geostationary communications satellite, for SES World Skies into orbit less than three weeks ago, and in doing so proved they can do more than just deliver to low-Earth orbit.
“The Falcon 9 will serve our unique needs at Thaicom. This dedicated launch vehicle is both cost-effective and best-matched to our requirements,” said Arak Chonlatanon, CEO of Thaicom Plc. “We look forward to working closely with the SpaceX team to ensure that the Thaicom 6 satellite will be successfully launched.”
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