SpaceX has been lucky for AsiaSat with two back to back successes. Streaking across the sky with a fiery tail, the Falcon 9 launch proceeded in a textbook fashion and placed the five ton Asiasat communication satellite in its precise Geo-transfer orbit.
The lift off was achieved without any hitch at 1AM EDT when the nine Merlin first stage engines roared into power and the Falcon 9 soared into the sky with a long fiery tail behind. After the boosters burnt out, single upper stage purred into life and propelled the Satellite to its egg shaped, GTO, nearly 23,300 miles over equator.
AsiaSat is a commercial satellite based in Hong Kong. Ground controllers established communications with AsiaSat 6 a few minutes later, verifying its functionality after Sunday’s launch. The mission was cost $190 million and includes the launcher, satellite and insurance.
The orbit of Asiasat will be corrected by burning its onboard rockets till its reaches its final slot which will be 36000 KM above the equator. This is the geosynchronous orbit where the satellite will orbit the Erath once in 24 hours making it almost stationary with respect to Earth. This is an important consideration for any communication satellite.
William Wade, AsiaSat’s president and CEO said, “It takes a few days to do orbit-raising and get all the antennas deployed, and then once all the deployments are done and everything is ready to go through in-orbit testing, where we’ll test all the transponders and subsystems. That usually takes a little less than 30 days, and once that’s done, then it will come online.”
The Asiasat will cater mainly to the demands in China and the rest will be used by Thailand for data services in Southeast Asia. AsiaSat 6 was supposed to launch Aug. 26 but was delayed by SpaceX after a rocket mishap at the Texas test site to enable it to review data.