Monday, June 13, 2011

SpaceX Snares Contract For Asian Satellite Launch

An Asian broadband communications satellite will be launched from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the second quarter of 2013, officials said today.

Thai satellite company THAICOM Plc. signed a contract to launch its Thaicom 6 telecommnications satellite into a geostationary orbit from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The contract brings another international launch to Florida's Space Coast. The satellite is the eighth foreign customer to sign up for a flight aboard the Falcon 9.

In a news release, SpaceX CEO and CTO Elon Musk said the deal points up the level of confidence satellite operators have in the capabilities in the California company.

Musk called it "the latest example of the effect SpaceX is having on the international commercial launch market."

"Asia is a critical market and SpaceX is honored to support its growing launch needs with a reliable U.S.-based solution."

"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."

The Thaicom 6 satellite will serve the satellite television market in South and Southeast Asia as well as Southern Africa. Built by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., the 7,000-pound satellite carries 18 C-band transponders and is scheduled to be in service in the middle of 2013.

Thaicom Plc. operates two satellites: Thaicom 4, one of the largest communications satellites ever launched, and Thaicom5. The company delivers broadband services to millions of users across 14 countries in Asia and the Pacific.

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