SpaceX Launches Thaicom 8, Lands Another Falcon 9
[Via Satellite 05-31-2016] SpaceX completed the launch of Thaicom 8 for Thai satellite operator Thaicom on May 27, delivering the spacecraft to a Super Synchronous Transfer Orbit (SSTO), followed by the company’s fourth successful landing of a Falcon 9 first stage booster. Thaicom 8 separated from the launch vehicle approximately 32 minutes into the mission, following which the rocket landed on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean.
Weighing approximately 1,450 kg (3,200 pounds) at launch, Thaicom 8 carries 24 active Ku-band transponders for broadcast and data services. Its manufacturer, Orbital ATK, delivered the spacecraft two months ahead of the original baseline schedule. Thaicom 8 is designed to operate for more than 15 years.
Orbital ATK engineers completed the satellite’s initial post-launch health check and configuration in preparation for approximately 30 days of in-orbit tests and orbit-raising procedures. Following this testing period, the satellite will be placed in its final orbital slot at 78.5 degrees east longitude. Once in-orbit testing confirms all satellite subsystems are functioning properly, Orbital ATK will transfer operational control of the satellite to Thaicom.