Luxembourg satellite operator SES has signed with SpaceX for launch of its SES-10 communications satellite into geostationary orbit using a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket. This marks the first time SpaceX will be reusing one its first stage boosters. The new mission slated for the upcoming fall will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida on the same Falcon 9 rocket that successfully landed itself back onto the floating drone ship back in April of this year.
According to Chief Technology Officer at SES, Martin Halliwell, the company has had a long-standing relationship with Elon Musk’s space company, having been the first commercial satellite operator to launch with SpaceX back in 2013. “we are excited to once again be the first customer to launch on SpaceX’s first ever mission using a flight-proven rocket. We believe reusable rockets will open up a new era of spaceflight, and make access to space more efficient in terms of cost and manifest management,” says Halliwell in a statement issued by the company. “This new agreement reached with SpaceX once again illustrates the faith we have in their technical and operational expertise. The due diligence the SpaceX team has demonstrated throughout the design and testing of the SES-10 mission launch vehicle gives us full confidence that SpaceX is capable of launching our first SES satellite dedicated to Latin America into space.”
Earlier in the month we reported that SpaceX is in negotiations to construct a new rocket refurbishing facility near its existing launch facilities at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is inline with the company’s mission to build reusable rockets and make spaceflight more commercially viable through the reduction of manufacturing costs, said to be discounted by as much as 30%. Cost for the upcoming SES mission that will launch on a previously-flown Falcon 9 booster has not been specified.
SpaceX’s first rocket recovery at sea from December of 2015 was a historic milestone – one that has been temporarily memorialized outside of its headquarters in Hawthorne, CA. In typical SpaceX fashion, we anticipate the upcoming SES launch to be webcasted and will be joining along on the excitement as the company strives towards building reusable rockets.