Capitalism in space: Sky Perfect JSAT, a Japanese satellite communications company, today awarded SpaceX a launch contract using its giant Starship/Superheavy rocket to put its Superbird-9 communications satellite into orbit in 2024.
Superbird-9 will be launched by SpaceX’s Starship launch vehicle in 2024 to geosynchronous transfer orbit. SpaceX’s Starship is a fully reusable transportation system that will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle. SKY Perfect JSAT and SpaceX will continue to work together ahead of the launch of Superbird-9 Satellite.
Sky Perfect is the first communications satellite company to choose Starship for a satellite launch. It is however the rocket’s fourth signed customer. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa made a deal in 2018 for a flight around the Moon, while NASA chose Starship in 2021 as the manned lunar lander in its Artemis program. UPDATE: SpaceX also has a second private manned customer, Jared Isaacman, whose present deal with SpaceX calls for two Dragon flights followed by a Starship flight.
Sky Perfect is not a new company, with sixteen satellites already in orbit providing communications, broadband, and entertainment to Japan and the Far East. It likely made this deal because it got a very good launch price, with options to back out if the rocket’s on-going development gets delayed by too much. It also made the deal because it helps to solidify Starship’s future, something Sky Perfect probably sees as a win considering the significant reduction of launch costs expected from Starship/Superheavy.
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