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SpaceX Signs Contract With Avanti Communications For Falcon 9 Launch

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 customer.

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 satellite missions."

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 planetary missions.

FMI: www.spacex.com, www.avanti-communications.com

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