Next SES satellite, which will increase potential of SES S.A. Telecommunication Company, will be launched from Cape Canaveral on 24th February 2016 according to SES official statement.
SES-9 mission was truly source of headache for SpaceX management. SES S.A. is one of most important customers for launch services provided by Elon Musk’s Company, and this satellite was important for expanding constellation of SES – biggest satellite operator in Luxembourg. Unfortunately, since first launch date, mission was postponed couple times. First reason was disaster of Falcon-9 during CRS-7 mission on 28 June 2015. After grounding all Falcon-9 rockets, SES-9 was postponed from 15 July to August and next to November 2015 because of a lengthy investigation of reasons of failed flight. When finally SpaceX was able to launch their Falcon-9 again, SES-9 mission was postponed to December, January and finally to February 2016. SpaceX due the huge delays was forced to help SES in reducing consequences of over six months delay. SES-9 will be launched on atop of latest version of Falcon-9 – 1.2. With more powerful propulsion rocket will be able to inject satellite in such way to let it reach orbit slot 108.2°. Due this fact it will be possible to keep previously scheduled Operational Service Date (OSD) for the third quarter of 2016.
SES-9 was contracted to Boeing in October 2012. During developing satellite Boeing decided to utilize their 702HP bus. It is version of reliable 702 platform, where HP stands for “high power” – 702HP offers up to 12 kW of power for onboard devices what makes it one of most powerful satellite platforms made by Boeing. Satellite will remain operational for 15 years and will help providing broadcast services for South Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines; it will also cover Asia and Indian Ocean with data transferring services. Satellite weighs 5330 kg, its power source are two deployable solar arrays and onboard battery. They will provide 12.7 kW power for onboard communication equipment like 57 Ku band transponders. Propulsion of the satellite are apogee kick motor fueled with bi-propellant and for final maneuvers electric thruster called XIPS – Xenon Ion Propulsion System.
During this mission it is rather less probable that SpaceX will decide to perform landing of first stage of the Falcon. Reason is very simple. To perform landing maneuver it is necessary to leave fuel in tanks of the first stage – for flipping maneuver and decreasing speed before touchdown during landing. This time all fuel will be necessary to inject satellite as far as possible to reduce time needed for flight into orbit slot; there is little chance that SpaceX will decide to try landing even for practice, without significant chance for success. Still it is more probably that this time reusability will not be showed as SpaceX performed it recently.