SpaceX, the new rocket launch business owned by billionaire PayPal founder Elon Musk, successfully launched the joint AsiaSat-6/Thaicom-7 satellite. The J-V satellite was built by Space Systems/Loral.
SpaceX’s giant Falcon-9 rocket successfully lifted off at 1am local time (05.00 UTC) on early Sunday morning, September 7, from the Cape Canaveral spaceport in Florida.
The AsiaSat-6 launch follows on from AsiaSat-8 launched just a month ago on August 5. Some 32 minutes after lift-off, the satellite separated from the rocket and its first signals were picked up just 55 minutes after launch at AsiaSat’s Hong Kong HQ. AsiaSat-6 has 28 high-power transponders.
Thaicom-7 joins the other Thaicom satellites, which are full, but at a new orbital position (120 degrees East) where it will start work in about 3-4 weeks after in-orbit testing. CEO Suphajee Suthumpun says her portion of the new satellite is already 50 per cent pre-sold, and the other pending contracts will quickly see the craft fully utilised.