SES-8 Satellite Arrives at Cape as Falcon 9 Launch Slips into November

The SES-8 communications satellite has arrived at Cape Canaveral in Florida from its manufacturer, Orbital Sciences Corporation, in Virginia.  The spacecraft is now scheduled for a launch to geosynchronous orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket sometime in November, SES announced in a press release.

The launch was originally scheduled for later this month, but SpaceX was unable to restart the upper stage of its Falcon 9 when it launched the CASSIOPE spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base last month. An upper stage restart is required to place satellites into geosynchronous orbit.

SpaceX is now investigating the cause of the failure, which involved an upgraded Merlin 1-D engine being tested for the first time. The SES-8 launch will be the first time SpaceX will attempt to launch a spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit. The company has a large manifest of communications satellites to deliver.

In its press release, SES said

The satellite features up to 33 Ku-band transponders (36 MHz equivalent). SES-8 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.

Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer of SES, stated: “SES looks forward to the maiden launch of an SES satellite on board the Falcon 9 rocket operated by SpaceX. When co-located with NSS-6 at 95 degrees East, SES-8 will not only provide incremental high performance capacity for multiple applications, it will also create greater reliability and additional security for customers. As such, the SES-8 satellite is an integral part of SES’ growing presence in Asia-Pacific.”