SpaceX Secures Launch Contract in Major Asian Market
HAWTHORNE, CA – Thai satellite company THAICOM Plc. (SET Index: THCOM) has chosen Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to launch the new Thaicom 6 telecommunications satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) from its Cape Canaveral launch site in the second quarter of 2013.
The contract brings another international launch to the United States to fly with SpaceX. Thaicom is the eighth non-U.S. customer manifested for upcoming flights aboard the Falcon 9.
“This deal highlights the confidence that satellite operators have in SpaceX capabilities, and is the latest example of the effect SpaceX is having on the international commercial launch market,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX chief executive officer (CEO) and chief technical officer (CTO). “Asia is a critical market and SpaceX is honored to support its growing launch needs with a reliable U.S.-based solution.”
The Thaicom 6 satellite is designed to serve the growing satellite television market in South and South-East Asia, as well as Southern Africa. Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, VA , and expected to weigh about 3,200 kilograms at launch, the satellite will operate from 78.5 degrees east and carry 18 C-band and eight Ku-band transponders. Thaicom 6 is planned to be in service by the middle of 2013.
Arak Chonlatanon, CEO of Thaicom Plc., said, “The Falcon 9 will serve our unique needs at Thaicom. This dedicated launch vehicle is both cost-effective and best-matched to our requirements. We look forward to working closely with the SpaceX team to ensure that the Thaicom 6 satellite will be successfully launched.”
SpaceX is the leading American space transport company, advancing the boundaries of space technology through its Falcon launch vehicles and Dragon spacecraft. Following the retirement of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program, the Falcon 9 / Dragon system, will take over delivery of initially cargo and later astronauts to the International Space Station.
In April 2011, SpaceX announced its plans to design, build and launch the Falcon Heavy – the world’s largest rocket since the Saturn V moon rocket. The Falcon Heavy will have the ability to carry payloads weighing over 53 metric tons to orbit, offering more than twice the performance of other commercial providers. The Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon spacecraft together will ensure the U.S. maintains leadership in the dynamic global space marketplace. For more information, visit www.spacex.com.
Thaicom Plc. is a leading satellite and telecommunications operator with customers throughout Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe. Currently, the company operates two satellites, Thaicom 4 (iPSTAR), one of the largest communications satellites ever launched, and Thaicom5. Thaicom 4 delivers broadband services to millions of users across 14 countries in Asia and the Pacific. The satellite has a bandwidth capacity of more than 45 gigabits. Established in 1991, the company provides satellite communications and related services, Internet-related services and media, as well as telephone services in neighboring countries. Thaicom is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) under THCOM.