Satellite firm confident SpaceX rocket can deliver again
The SES-10 commercial communications satellite, built by Airbus Defence and Space, will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster that has already completed an orbital launch. The launch is scheduled for Thursday, March 30, 2017.
Marin Halliwell, chief technology officer of Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES, spoke Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at Port Canaveral, Fla., about the company's upcoming launch of the SES-10 communications satellite on a refurbished SpaceX booster.
He said the savings were not significant compared to the satellite’s value, which was not disclosed, and the company's broader interest in advancing the availability of reusable rockets.
“It’s not just the money in this particular case,” he said. “It’s really, let’s get this proof of concept moving. Someone has to go first here.”
Beyond lower launch prices, Halliwell said SES sees reusability benefiting the industry simply by making more rockets available. That could reduce the company’s average seven-month wait time for a launch after a satellite is ready.
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“It’s expensive waiting,” he said.
If schedules hold, SES will fly three more missions with SpaceX this year, and is considering flying two of those on previously flown Falcons, assuming this week’s flight goes well.
Halliwell said SpaceX has allowed SES engineers all the access they needed to be confident that the first re-launched Falcon booster would work as planned.
“The fact that it’s flown once, landed once, that’s just fine,” he said. “Let’s do it again.”
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