First stage malfunction halts SES-8 launch

Editor | 26-11-2013

In a blow for the US company as it attempts to enter a new market sector, SpaceX has postponed the launch of the new SES-8 craft carried on its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral.

Minutes before take-off, SpaceX says that it observed unexpected readings with the first stage liquid oxygen system and decided to investigate.

SES has confirmed that the launch vehicle and satellite have been secured, and SpaceX has said that it is postponing the launch until Thursday 28 November at 5.38pm EST. It assures that the launch vehicle and satellite are “in great shape”.

Manufactured by Orbital Sciences, SES-8 features up to 33 Ku-band transponders (36MHz equivalent) and will be co-located with NSS-6 at the orbital location of 95 degrees east to provide growth capacity over Asia-Pacific. The spacecraft's high performance beams will support the rapidly growing markets in South Asia and Indo-China, as well as provide expansion capacity for DTH, VSAT and government applications.

The launch was due to be SpaceX’s first to a geostationary transfer orbit, 80,000km from Earth and was described by the company as its most challenging mission to date.