September 02, 2016

SES-10 will be the first-ever satellite to launch on a SpaceX flight-proven recovered rocket booster

SES and SpaceX announced today they have reached an agreement to launch SES-10 on a flight-proven Falcon 9 orbital rocket booster.

This information is from an SES press release and Universe Today coverage

The satellite, which will be in a geostationary orbit and expand SES’s capabilities across Latin America, is scheduled for launch in Q4 2016. SES-10 will be the first-ever satellite to launch on a SpaceX flight-proven rocket booster.

SES-10 will be positioned at 67 degrees West, pursuant to an agreement with the Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru), and will be used for the Simón Bolivar 2 satellite network. With a Ku-band payload of 55 36MHz transponder equivalents, of which 27 are incremental, the multi-mission spacecraft is the first SES satellite wholly dedicated to Latin America. It will replace the capacity currently provided by SES’s AMC-3 and AMC-4 satellites at that location, as well as bring additional capacity to Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The high-powered, tailored and flexible beams will provide direct-to-home broadcasting, enterprise and mobility services.

SpaceX says the price of a completely new Falcon 9 booster is approximately $60 million.

Shotwell has said SpaceX will reduce the cost about 30%. So SES might be saving around $20 million – but there are no published numbers regarding this particular launch contract.

First launch of flight-proven Falcon 9 first stage will use CRS-8 booster that delivered Dragon to the International Space Station in April 2016. Credit: SpaceX

“Having been the first commercial satellite operator to launch with SpaceX back in 2013, we are excited to once again be the first customer to launch on SpaceX's first ever mission using a flight-proven rocket. We believe reusable rockets will open up a new era of spaceflight, and make access to space more efficient in terms of cost and manifest management,” said Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer at SES. “This new agreement reached with SpaceX once again illustrates the faith we have in their technical and operational expertise. The due diligence the SpaceX team has demonstrated throughout the design and testing of the SES-10 mission launch vehicle gives us full confidence that SpaceX is capable of launching our first SES satellite dedicated to Latin America into space.”

“Re-launching a rocket that has already delivered spacecraft to orbit is an important milestone on the path to complete and rapid reusability,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer of SpaceX. “SES has been a strong supporter of SpaceX’s approach to reusability over the years and we’re delighted that the first launch of a flight-proven rocket will carry SES-10.”

SES-10 is being built by Airbus Defence and Space and is based on the Eurostar E3000 platform. The satellite will utilise an electric plasma propulsion system for on-orbit manoeuvres and a chemical system for initial orbit raising and some on-orbit manoeuvres.

SOURCES - SES, Spacex, Universe Today

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