Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the worlds leading space technology companies, announced Dec. 4 that the SES-8, a communications satellite built by the company for SES S.A. of Luxembourg, was successfully launched into orbit yesterday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket operated by Space Exploration Technologies from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Lift-off took place at 5:41 p.m., EST, Dec. 3, and the satellite successfully separated from the rockets final stage approximately 31 minutes into the mission, placing it into a super-synchronous transfer orbit.
Over the next several weeks, SES and Orbital engineers will conduct a comprehensive series of in-orbit tests to verify all spacecraft systems are functioning properly before it is officially turned over to SES for full operational control and commencement of commercial service. SES-8 is the sixth Orbital-built GEOStar satellite ordered by SES, a leading global satellite operator providing a broad range of communications services.
Early in the initial check-out and testing process, the SES-8 mission is proceeding smoothly,î said Christopher Richmond, Orbitals senior vice president of Communications Satellite Programs. We are proud to continue to be a part of the SES team, helping increase communications capacity to meet the rapidly growing demand for telecommunications services in South Asia and Indo-China.î
Orbital designed, built and tested SES-8 at its satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles, Va. The 3,200-kilogram satellite features 33 Ku-band transponders of 36 MHz capacity. In addition, SES-8 carries a Ka-band payload that together with the Ku-band payload consumes approximately five kilowatts of electrical power. Designed for an anticipated service life of 15 years, SES-8 will be co-located with NSS-6 at an orbit location of 95 East Longitude. Upon full activation, the satellite will provide expanded communications support for South Asia and Indo-China and additional capacity for Direct to Home, Very Small Aperture Terminal, and government applications.
With this launch, 148 Orbital-built satellites have been completed and delivered to commercial, civil government and national security customers during the last 30 years. The SES-8 satellite is the 36th commercial geosynchronous communications spacecraft ordered by Orbitals customers around the world 31 have been launched to date and another five are now in design, production or pre-launch preparations.