SES wants to buy used Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX for a future launch
On Tuesday, the chief technology officer for SES said that satellite operator SES SA is willing to purchase a used Falcon 9 rocket from Elon Musk’s SpaceX for a future launch.
At a pre-launch news conference, SES’s Martin Halliwell told reporters that SES has no issue in flying a re-used (rocket’s) first stage. Halliwell also said that they are happy until it is flight-worthy.
SpaceX is looking forward to fly a 12,613-pound SES satellite, hopefully on Wednesday, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Halliwell said that so far the Luxembourg-based SES and SpaceX haven’t negotiated the launch price of a used Falcon rocket. The company's website showed that SpaceX’s new Falcon 9 rockets cost about $61 million.
In December, SpaceX successfully landed the first-stage of a Falcon rocket, a major step in its quest of coming up with a cheap, reusable booster.
SpaceX said that due to the SES satellite’s heavy weight, the rocket that is going to be launched this week will fly almost twice as quick as the one used in December, until it gets separated from the second-stage motor.
SpaceX failed to trim the speed of the rocket for a touchdown at the launch site, and thus will instead attempt to land the booster on a platform that floats nearly 400 miles off the east coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.
Previously, SpaceX has made three unsuccessful ocean landing attempts. In its January trial, the rocket touched down, however, a stabilizing landing leg was unable to latch as a result of which it keeled over and exploded.
Halliwell said that SES, which is presently operating a constellation of 53 satellites, has three more satellites under agreement to fly on SpaceX Falcon rockets until 2017.
He added, “I did throw out a challenge to SpaceX that we would be the first satellite operator that would use the same rocket twice to get to … orbit. That’s something which I would really like to do”.