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SES to orbit on a ‘pre-flown’ rocket

As expected, satellite operator SES will use a returned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to orbit its SES-10 satellite. The launch will take place during Q4 this year, probably around October.

SES-10 will be the first-ever satellite to be launched on what SES describe as a “flight-proven” rocket booster.

Unstated is how much SES is paying – or not paying – for its launch. SpaceX normally charges around $60 million for a Falcon 9 launch, and talk in the trade has mentioned discounts of at least 30 per cent on the normal price. But SES might well have negotiated even better terms.

“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. 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,” said Martin Halliwell, CTO at SES. “This new agreement reached with SpaceX once again illustrates the faith we have in their technical and operational expertise. The due diligence the SpaceX team has demonstrated throughout the design and testing of the SES-10 mission launch vehicle gives us full confidence that SpaceX is capable of launching our first SES satellite dedicated to Latin America into space.”

SES-10 will be positioned at 67 degrees West, and reflects an agreement with the Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru), and will be used for the Simón Bolivar 2 satellite network.

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