SpaceX achieves back-to-back successes for AsiaSat
BY STEPHEN CLARK
Posted: Sep 7, 2014
Putting on a late summer sky uncover along Florida’s Space Coast, a Falcon 9 rocket climbed into space after midnight Sunday with a blurb communications satellite to bond flourishing markets in China and Southeast Asia.
The Falcon 9 rocket streaks into a sky after liftoff from Cape Canaveral. Credit: SpaceX
The goal began during 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT) Sunday with a burning ignition of a 224-foot-tall launcher’s 9 Merlin initial theatre engines. Once a kerosene-burning engines ramped adult to full power, a Falcon 9 rocket soared divided from Cape Canaveral atop a flickering post of impassioned exhaust, trenchant by clouds before arcing easterly over a Atlantic Ocean.
The rocket’s upholder theatre gave approach to a single-engine top theatre about 3 mins after liftoff, commencement a initial of a span of browns to propel a scarcely five-ton AsiaSat 6 communications satellite to geostationary send orbit, a waypoint on a approach to a permanent handling post bound 22,300 miles over a equator.
SpaceX announced a launch a success shortly after 1:30 a.m. EDT (0530 GMT), when a Falcon 9 was automatic to recover AsiaSat 6 into an egg-shaped send orbit.
AsiaSat, a blurb satellite user formed in Hong Kong, reliable belligerent controllers determined communications with AsiaSat 6 a few mins later, verifying a functionality after Sunday’s launch.
The goal was valued during $190 million, including a launcher, satellite and insurance, according to William Wade, AsiaSat’s boss and CEO.
Manufactured by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif., AsiaSat 6 was approaching to lift a circuit to geosynchronous altitude within a few days, where it will float over a equator for a 15-year mission.
“It takes a few days to do orbit-raising and get all a antennas deployed, and afterwards once all a deployments are finished and all is prepared to go by in-orbit testing, where we’ll exam all a transponders and subsystems,” Wade pronounced in an talk before a launch of AsiaSat 6. “That customarily takes a small reduction than 30 days, and once that’s done, afterwards it will come online.”
If all goes as planned, AsiaSat 6 should be operational some time in October.
The booster hosts 28 C-band transponders and dual communications beams.
The Falcon 9 rocket climbs divided from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad. Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
AsiaSat will share adult to 50 percent of a satellite’s communications ability with Thaicom, Wade said.
“For AsiaSat, a bulk of that ability as we see it will be used in China — C-band ability in China — for video services and other telecommunications and information services … since we design a Thais to use it for information services in Southeast Asia,” Wade said.
Thaicom has named a share of a satellite Thaicom 7.
“Our new bird will assistance perform a augmenting direct in satellite ability in Thailand and in a Asia-Pacific region,” pronounced Suphajee Suthumpun, authority and CEO of Thaicom. “Thaicom 7 will assistance strengthen a company’s servicing capacity, as good as concede it to enhance into new markets overseas.”
In a press recover Sunday, Thaicom pronounced a ability on a new satellite was entirely requisitioned during a time of launch, done adult of about 50 percent pre-launch sales, with a residue in a final agreement stages.
For AsiaSat, Sunday’s launch noted a finish of a scarcely $400 million expansion module started in 2011. The beginning culminated in back-to-back launches of AsiaSat satellites aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.
AsiaSat 8 carried off from Cape Canaveral on Aug. 5 and was approaching to enter use in early September. AsiaSat 6 was ostensible to launch Aug. 26, though SpaceX behind a moody to examination information from a rocket fumble during a company’s exam site in Central Texas.
The antecedent rocket mislaid in Texas uses a same form of Merlin engine as operational Falcon 9 missions, though investigators traced a means of a fumble to a sensor failure. SpaceX officials pronounced a Falcon 9 rocket uses some-more modernized program proof and is not receptive to a singular bad sensor.
“Our story has customarily been a small bit some-more regressive where we launched satellites customarily three-to-four years detached especially for deputy satellites or some expansion that way,” Wade said. “But this is a small bit opposite for us. We went out and systematic dual satellites during a same time from Loral, with a thought that we had opportunities to move on new ability for growth.
Artist’s judgment of a AsiaSat 6 satellite. Credit: Space Systems/Loral
“These dual satellites rising a month detached are unequivocally expansion satellites for us,” Wade said. “They’re not replacements. They’re new, incremental expansion satellites for us opposite Asia, with C-band on AsiaSat 6 especially in China, and Ku-band on AsiaSat 8, that was especially for a Indian subcontinent as good as a Middle East.”
AsiaSat paid SpaceX $52.2 million for any of a launches, according to regulatory filings.
AsiaSat’s subsequent satellite — AsiaSat 9 — is bigger than a dual qualification launched by SpaceX. It is requisitioned to launch on an International Launch Services Proton rocket in late 2016 or early 2016.
“We don’t have anything requisitioned with [SpaceX] now, though positively a knowledge with them would aver a repeat,” Wade said.
SpaceX’s subsequent launch is scheduled for no progressing than Sept. 19, when another Falcon 9 rocket will blast off from Florida with a Dragon load plug on a resupply goal to a International Space Station.
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.