SES/EchoStar get SpaceX launch date

A very large joint-venture satellite using a pre-flown (“flight tested”) SpaceX Falcon 9 booster stage will be launched no earlier than October. The much-delayed satellite had been expected to fly during September, and was initially scheduled for September 27th although previous expected launch dates of October 2016, November 2016 and July 2017 have been missed.

The launch, which is of SES-11 and where EchoStar leases a large portion of the satellite’s capacity and which it flies as EchoStar-105, will use the 1st stage of a SpaceX rocket and is the third time that SES has used a SpaceX pre-flown rocket. Industry sources say the rocket’s previous flight was on a cargo supply mission to the International Space Station.

EchoStar will use 24 Ku-band transponders on the satellite to replace digital network capacity that the company currently leases on the AMC 15 satellite owned by SES. For its half of the new satellite, SES intends to operate the craft’s C-band transponders for video and data distribution services.

The SES 11/EchoStar 105 satellite will weigh approximately 5400 kgs (11,900 lbs) at launch. A payload of that mass means SpaceX will probably try to land the Falcon 9’s first stage on a floating barge downrange from Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean.

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