SES is about to see two satellites launched within a few days of each other. The first is the much re-scheduled launch of SES-8 on a Falcon-9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, now expected on November 22nd.
The second launch is Astra 5B which is scheduled for December 6th from Kourou in French Guiana.
The Falcon-9 launch is a world’s first for the SpaceX system in that it will be its first-ever launch of a satellite to geostationary transfer orbit. At the same time it is also something of a worry because a test flight on September 29th was by no means a total success and the essential re-firing of the Falcon’s second stage was less than perfect.
The upside benefit to SES is that it is getting the launch at a ‘bargain basement’ price, reportedly “well under $60 million”.
SES-8 is to be placed alongside NSS-6 at 95 degrees East and serving the South Asia and Indo-China regions.
Astra 5B is a much more conventional launch, from Kourou. It will be placed at 31.5 deg East and serve Europe and Russia. It is also carrying an L-Band payload for a European Commission’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).