Just over one month ago, in late March, a new SES satellite made history when it was a part of something that was never done before.
At 6:27 PM EST on March 22, 2017, the SES-10 satellite was successfully launched into space onboard a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. This made SES-10 the first geostationary commercial satellite to ever launch on a flight-proven first-stage rocket booster.
That’s right, SES-10 was launched into space on a rocket that had gone into space once before, and then made the trip a second time. Space flight may become more ordinary every day, but the fact is that it remains pretty fascinating – and it’s even truer with this launch, which was certainly anything but ordinary.
The implications and importance of this launch cannot be overstated. The use of the flight-proven Falcon 9 for launching SES-10 propelled the space industry one step closer to rapid rocket reusability – one step closer to faster, easier access to space. That’s because reusable rockets will not only drive down the launch cost, they will also allow a higher launch frequency, which will definitely bring a new agility and competitive edge to the satellite industry.
If you missed watching this historic launch when it happened, here is a slideshow of the event. Click the play button below to see some high-resolution images of history in the making:
Photos courtesy of Airbus and SpaceX.
For SES, this first marks another milestone in its endeavor to drive the space race. SES was the pioneer of co-locating satellites, the first to launch with Proton in 1996, and more recently, the first to rely on SpaceX for a geostationary mission in 2013 with the launch of SES-9. Stay tuned for even more history-making from SES in the near future.