Commercial spacecraft firm SpaceX announced on Sunday, September 7th, that delivered another commercial communications satellite to orbit earlier that morning, completing its second satellite launch for Hong Kong-based AsiaSat.
SpaceX’s AsiaSat 6 mission had been postponed for more than a week after a prototype SpaceX test rocket failed after launch in Texas on August 22nd. Although the rocket that exploded was a prototype of a new rocket and not the proven Falcon 9, the company decided to “triple check” all launch procedures as a precaution.
Of note, AsiaSat partner Thaicom will operate 50% of satellite’s 28-transponder capacity using the name Thaicom 7.
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch Sunday
The postponement was apparently just what the doctor ordered, as the 224-foot Space X Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launched into sunny skies without any sign of a glitch.
A statement from SpaceX confirmed that the rocket had deployed its payload as planned after 32 minutes, leading to a 12th successful flight since 2010 for the Falcon 9.
The satellite, named AsiaSat 6 (built by California-based firm Space Systems/Loral), was headed for an orbit 22,300 miles over the equator at 120 degrees East longitude. Once it is in position, the new satellite will provide video and telecommunications services to China and Southeast Asia for the next 15 years.
Statement from AsiaSat CEO
“This year marks a major milestone for AsiaSat,” said AsiaSat President and CEO William Wade in a statement. “The addition of AsiaSat 6 to AsiaSat’s expanding fleet of five in-orbit satellites including the new AsiaSat 8 significantly enhances our capability to offer a wider range of transponder capacity to our clients.”
Wade continued to say, “Although it has quite a large coverage, its main focus is to add additional capacity for China.”
SpaceX is one of several companies awaiting word from NASA on whether it has won a contract to launch astronauts from the Space Coast to the ISS, possibly by 2017.