HAWTHORNE, Calif. & LUXEMBOURG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the Satellite 2011 conference kicked off in Washington, D.C., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and SES (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) today announced an agreement to launch an SES satellite using the Falcon 9 rocket.
SES is one of the largest satellite operators in the world, and the deal marks what will be the first geostationary satellite launch using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The firm launch agreement with SpaceX also includes an option for a second SES launch. It supplements SES’ existing multi-launch agreements with its traditional launch providers Arianespace and ILS.
“As a world-leading telecommunications satellite operator, SES is in a position to choose the very best. SES is known for their low tolerance to risk and cautious approach in evaluating suppliers,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and Chief Technical Officer. “SpaceX has focused on building the most reliable, safe and affordable launch vehicles in the market today. The SES deal shows that even the most conservative commercial or government customers can have confidence flying their satellites on the Falcon 9 rocket.”
States Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES: “Access to space is of utmost importance to SES, as we embark on our most ambitious fleet expansion program yet. After extensive due diligence of SpaceX’s technical and operational expertise, we feel comfortable entrusting SpaceX with one of our satellites, thereby encouraging diversity in the launch vehicle sector and fostering entrepreneurial spirit in the space industry. Falcon 9 ideally complements our roster of Ariane 5 and Proton boosters, as well as our framework launch understanding with Sea Launch. We look forward to a successful collaboration with SpaceX on the SES-8 mission and beyond.”
The SES-8 satellite is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2013 from SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at the Air Force Station at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
SES is launching SES-8 into the orbital position of 95 degrees East to respond to the strong demand for additional direct to home (DTH) capacity in Asia. SES-8, currently under construction with Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) is a medium-sized communications satellite focused on South Asia (India) and Indo-China (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos) to support existing DTH customers with back-up and growth transponder capacity. SES-8 will be co-positioned with NSS-6 at the orbital slot of 95 degrees East, which is a cornerstone of the SES strategy in Asia and also supports key customers in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Korea.
About the Falcon 9
Falcon 9 is a two-stage launch vehicle powered by liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene (RP-1) and is capable of delivering 10,450 kg (23,050 lb) to low Earth orbit and 4,540 kg (10,000 lb) to GTO. The nine Merlin engines on the first stage generate over one million pounds of thrust at liftoff and allow the launch vehicle to perform as planned even with one or two of the engines out. Merlin engines are the highest performing American hydrocarbon rocket engines ever flown. Falcon 9 was designed from the ground up by SpaceX for the reliable and cost-efficient transport of satellites to low Earth orbit and geosynchronous transfer orbit as well as for sending SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to orbiting destinations such as the International Space Station.
Falcon 9 has delivered back-to-back successes with its first two launches. Both flights achieved 100% of mission objectives, and the second flight made history, marking the first time a commercial company successfully returned a spacecraft from Earth orbit. The second flight included the successful restart of the second-stage Merlin Vacuum engine—a critical capability for GTO satellite delivery.
SpaceX develops, manufactures and launches a family of launch vehicles and spacecraft that are increasing the reliability and performance of space transportation, while ultimately reducing costs by a factor of ten. With the Falcon rockets, SpaceX has a diverse manifest of launches to deliver commercial and government satellites to orbit. After the Space Shuttle retires, the Falcon 9 and SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will start carrying cargo, including live plants and animals, to and from the International Space Station for NASA. Falcon 9 and Dragon were developed to one day carry astronauts.
Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners. The company has over 1,250 employees in California, Texas and Florida. For more information, and to watch the video of the Falcon 9 and Dragon launches, visit the SpaceX website at SpaceX.com.
SES (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) wholly owns the market-leading satellite operators SES ASTRA and SES WORLD SKIES and participations in Ciel in Canada and QuetzSat in Mexico as well as a strategic participation in satellite infrastructure start-up O3b Networks. SES provides outstanding satellite communications solutions via a global fleet of 44 satellites. Visit www.ses.com for more information.
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