Perfect launch for SpaceX and AsiaSat-8
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) had to delay the launch of AsiaSat-8 when an unexplained issue emerged with the rocket’s first stage. That was fixed and it then carried out a flawless launch of its Falcon-9 rocket carrying AsiaSat-8 into a successful geostationary transfer orbit. AsiaSat said the satellite is healthy and sending telemetry signals back to Earth.
AsiaSat, based in Hong Kong, will position the satellite after testing at 105.5 degrees where it will perform over the Asia-Pacific region and be co-located with AsiaSat-7 already in position.
AsiaSat-8 was built by Space Systems/Loral, which is also building AsiaSat-8 which will launch later this year.
But word emerged at the launch of the actual cost of these expensive rockets. SpaceX charged AsiaSat $52.2 million for the first of its twin launches. Sources said the cost of a launch on a rival Proton rocket would have been $107 million, more than double the cost. No figure emerged as to the cost of an Ariane launch but it is generally understood to be higher again than Proton.