‘Second-Hand’ SpaceX Rocket to Launch Telecom Satellite
Leading satellite operator is the first company to launch on a SpaceX reusable rocket.
SES, an international satellite operator based in Luxembourg, will be launching its SES-10 satellite on a reused SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch is scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2016 and will be the first time a SpaceX reuses one of its rockets.
"Having been the first commercial satellite operator to launch with SpaceX back in 2013, we are excited to once again be the first customer to launch on SpaceX's first ever mission using a flight-proven rocket," Martin Halliwell, SES chief technology officer, said in a press release.
"We believe reusable rockets will open up a new era of spaceflight, and make access to space more efficient in terms of cost and manifest management."
The SES-10 satellite is meant to provide telecommunications coverage to Latin America and will be in a high orbit above Earth. SES had earlier expressed its intention to launch on a reused SpaceX rocket. Halliwell said that SpaceX did not need to do any demonstration missions and will fly on the reused rocket even without tests.
"Re-launching a rocket that has already delivered spacecraft to orbit is an important milestone on the path to complete and rapid reusability," Gwynne Shotwell, president and CEO of SpaceX, said in a statement.
"SES has been a strong supporter of SpaceX's approach to reusability over the years and we're delighted that the first launch of a flight-proven rocket will carry SES-10."
The satellite will be launching on the Falcon 9 rocket, which SpaceX landed in April of this year. The same vehicle launched a cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), and then landed on a drone ship. It is also the first rocket that made a successful ocean landing after a number of failed attempts to land a rocket.