Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES has ordered two launch contracts with SpaceX for 2017 on the launch company’s Falcon-9 rocket.
SpaceX will launch SES-14 in 2017 to the 47.5/48 degrees West position. The satellite itself was ordered last week, and will be an all-electric – and thus lighter weight – craft.
The second satellite, SES-16 (aka GovSat) is a joint-venture twin mission satellite. The satellite will also launch in 2017 to 21.5 degrees East, and is another lighter-weight all-electric satellite.
The ‘GovSat’ portion of the mission will use military X-band frequencies and cover a huge footprint taking in Europe, the Mid-East and Africa, and will be used for NATO military and governmental obligations. SES will commercialise spare X-band and Ka-band capacity aboard the satellite.
SpaceX is also due to launch SES-9 on the debut commercial flight of Falcon-9, which is Space-X’s heavy-lift rocket.
While these orders all represent good news for SpaceX it also means that France-based Arianespace has lost out, either because of pricing pressures, or that they could not schedule the launches into their busy manifest.