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SpaceX Successfully Launches Thaicom Satellite

Jan 6 2014, 7:26pm CST | by

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SpaceX Successfully Launches Thaicom Satellite
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SpaceX Successfully Launches Thaicom Satellite

SpaceX starts the year off with another successful commercial satellite launch.

On Monday evening, SpaceX started off the new year with a commercial satellite launch. This launch was the second successful commercial deployment for its Falcon 9 rocket, after launching its first , the SES-8, in December of 2013.

The Falcon 9 rocket was carrying the Thaicom 6 satellite for Thai telecommunications company Thaicom .  The satellite, which was built by the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences , is primarily intended to provide stronger digital broadcast and HD channels to its customers. According to Thaicom, 66% of the satellite’s bandwidth has already been booked .

SpaceX’s rocket lifted off from Cape Canveral at 5:06pm EST. It successfully deployed the Thaicom 6 into geosynchronous orbit at 5:37pm EST.

Now that the satellite in is orbit, Orbital Sciences will spend the next few weeks testing out the satellites system and ensuring that it is ready for operation. Once its operations have been verified, Orbital will then hand the reins of the satellite over to Thaicom for regular operation.

This is the first of 15 launches that SpaceX currently has on its launch manifest for 2014, including 4 flights to provide cargo to the International Space Station and a test flight of its Falcon Heavy rocket. It’s next launch will be a cargo resupply to the ISS. According to a SpaceX spokesperson, that resupply flight is currently “targeted for the end of February.”

The next major launch for an American commercial space company is this Wednesday, January 8. On that day, Orbital Sciences is currently scheduled to send its Cygnus cargo vessel to the ISS for the second time. That flight was originally scheduled to occur in mid-December, but had to be postponed so that astronauts could make repairs to  a faulty cooling pump on the ISS.

(Image Credit: SpaceX)

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