Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket company is scheduled to launch JCSAT-14 for SkyPerfecTV at 1am Florida-time of May 5th. The rocket’s Falcon-9 engines were tested over the past weekend, and all responded well.
The broadcast satellite has been built and prepared by California-based Space Systems/Loral, and is the first of a pair of launches on SpaceX for the Japanese pay-TV broadcaster. The lift-off will take place from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 40.
The official launch window opens at 1.22am (EDT) and will last for 2 hours. It will eventually orbit at 154 degrees East, and replace the aging JCSAT-2A which was launched back in 2002.
JCSAT-14 carries both C-band and Ku-band transponders, and will transmit over Japan and the rst of Asia, Russia, Oceania and the Pacific islands, the company said.
Based in Tokyo, JSAT has 16 communications craft in operation and is the fifth largest commercial telecom satellite operator in the world, measured by revenue, and the biggest in Asia.
SpaceX will reportedly attempt another ‘barge landing’ down range from the Cape launch site, although officials recognise that the Japanese satellite is a “hot and fast” mission, insofar as the satellite – and orbital trajectory – and its rocket fuel make it a heavy mission, while recent ‘landing’ successes have been for Low Earth Orbit launches, which mean lighter fuel loads.
“JCSAT is pushing the envelope as a very hot and fast mission, so will land on the drone-ship,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted April 29th. “Next land landing in a few months.”