Third time lucky for SES-8 as Falcon flies

Editor | 04-12-2013

After two false starts including a last-minute delay to the second take-off, SES has confirmed the successful launch from Cape Canaveral of its SES-8 craft carried on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX successfully transported the SES-8 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit, 31 minutes after lift-off, in what was SES’s maiden use of the Falcon 9 rocket and SpaceX’s first to a geostationary transfer orbit, 80,000km from Earth.
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.
Commenting on the launch, Romain Bausch, president and CEO of SES, said: “We congratulate the SpaceX team for the success of a challenging launch campaign and our longstanding supplier Orbital for innovating with us in exploring new paths to orbit while delivering a brand-new, state-of-the-art satellite for Asia.
"Our customers are looking forward to the new capacity, and we are delighted that SES, in collaboration with SpaceX and Orbital, is all set to deliver following today’s successful launch. Through the co-location with NSS-6 at 95 degrees East, SES-8 will not only provide incremental high performance capacity, notably for DTH services, it will also create greater reliability and additional security for customers.”
“Today’s successful insertion of the SES-8 satellite marks SpaceX’s first geo-synchronous transfer mission and confirms the Falcon 9 launch vehicle lives up to the industry’s highest performance standards,” added Elon Musk, CEO and chief designer of SpaceX.
“As always, SpaceX remains committed to delivering the safest, most reliable launch vehicles on the market today. We appreciate SES’s early confidence in SpaceX and look forward to launching additional SES satellites in the years to come.”
SES has three more SpaceX/Falcon 9 boosters under contract but its next launch is slated for early 2014 when a European Ariane 5 vehicle will orbit the ASTRA 5B satellite from Kourou, French Guyana.