Thu, Sep 13, 2007
First Commercial Geostationary Telecommunications Customer
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) told ANN Thursday
it has signed a contract with the UK-based Avanti Communications
Group (Avanti) for the launch of Avanti's HYLAS Ka band satellite
to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) on board a SpaceX Falcon 9.
Of the seven Falcon 9 launches on the SpaceX manifest, this will be
their first commercial geostationary telecommunications
The contract also includes options for up to three additional
satellite launches. If Avanti were to exercise those options, the
value of the transaction would be approximately $150 Million at
standard list prices.
"Avanti thoroughly and objectively reviewed all the launch
vehicles in the world and picked Falcon 9, which is a major
endorsement of SpaceX," said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. "Falcon 9 is
designed to the higher standards and safety margins required to
carry astronauts for NASA, making it well suited for high value
Scheduled to lift off from the SpaceX launch complex at Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida between March 31, 2009 and
December 31, 2009, the HYLAS satellite will provide broadband and
data communications services to European customers in 22 countries.
It will occupy a geostationary orbit a 33.5 degrees west longitude,
with an expected lifetime of 15 years.
"SpaceX shares our vision of changing the speed and economics of
space services so we look forward to working together," said David
Williams, Avanti's chief executive. "Given their progress and plans
with customers such as NASA and the US Department of Defense, we
are very confident in their capabilities to deliver our satellite
to orbit on time and on budget."
SpaceX is developing a family of
launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the
reliability of both manned and unmanned space transportation. With
its Falcon line of launch vehicles, SpaceX offers light, medium and
heavy lift capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any inclination
and altitude, from low Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit to
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