The competition heats up: SpaceX has successfully launched its second commercial Asiasat satellite into orbit in just over a month.
“These two satellites launching a month apart are really growth satellites for us,” [William Wade, AsiaSat’s president and CEO] said. “They’re not replacements. They’re new, incremental growth satellites for us across Asia, with C-band on AsiaSat 6 mainly in China, and Ku-band on AsiaSat 8, which was mainly for the Indian subcontinent as well as the Middle East.”
AsiaSat paid SpaceX $52.2 million for each of the launches, according to regulatory filings. [emphasis mine]
As has been noted frequently, that price of $50 million per launch is anywhere from half to a quarter what other companies have been charging. Asiasat got a great deal, and every commercial satellite and launch company in the world is aware of this.
SpaceX has scheduled the next commercial launch of its Falcon 9 rocket for this coming Saturday.
They have completed their review of the Falcon 9R test failure and have obviously concluded that its problems will not effect the Falcon 9.
The competition heats up: After a launch abort at T-12 seconds, the countdown was recycled and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at the very end of its launch window early Tuesday morning, putting an Asiasat communications satellite into orbit.
They still have to fire the thrusters to get the satellite to geosynchronous orbit.
The competition heats up: Just three weeks after its previous commercial launch SpaceX is scheduled to put AsiaSat 8 into orbit at 1:25 am tomorrow.
If Tuesday morning’s launch goes well, SpaceX will follow it with another commercial launch just three weeks later, also for Asiasat.
The article above notes how this will be the first launch for Asiasat from the U.S. in more than a decade. They had switched to Russian launchers because of cost and the difficulties of working under U.S. security requirements. The security problems still remain, but might be solved if SpaceX builds its own private spaceport.
William Wade, AsiaSat president and CEO, is excited for the upcoming launches, but confirmed the company’s experience here has not been as easy as at other launch sites. Access to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for roughly 60 employees, shareholders and customers now in town — most not U.S. citizens and many who are Chinese nationals – has been difficult. “That is proving to be somewhat cumbersome,” Wade said. “We have to go through all the security clearances, which is expected, but we are finding as a foreign company that it is a bit more difficult conducting our launches there.”