EL SEGUNDO, California, September 13 /PRNewswire/ --
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Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announced today that it has signed a contract with the UK-based Avanti Communications Group (Avanti) for the launch of Avanti's HYLAS Ka band satellite to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) on board a SpaceX Falcon 9. Of the seven Falcon 9 launches on the SpaceX manifest, this will be their first commercial geostationary telecommunications customer.
The contract also includes options for up to three additional satellite launches. If Avanti were to exercise those options, the value of the transaction would be approximately US$150 Million at standard list prices.
"Avanti thoroughly and objectively reviewed all the launch vehicles in the world and picked Falcon 9, which is a major endorsement of SpaceX," said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. "Falcon 9 is designed to the higher standards and safety margins required to carry astronauts for NASA, making it well suited for high value satellite missions."
Scheduled to lift off from the SpaceX launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida between March 31, 2009 and December 31, 2009, the HYLAS satellite will provide broadband and data communications services to European customers in 22 countries. It will occupy a geostationary orbit a 33.5 degrees west longitude, with an expected lifetime of 15 years.
"SpaceX shares our vision of changing the speed and economics of space services so we look forward to working together," said David Williams, Avanti's chief executive. "Given their progress and plans with customers such as NASA and the US Department of Defense, we are very confident in their capabilities to deliver our satellite to orbit on time and on budget."
SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of both manned and unmanned space transportation ultimately by a factor of ten. With its Falcon line of launch vehicles, SpaceX is able to offer light, medium and heavy lift capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any inclination and altitude, from low Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit to planetary missions.
As winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition, SpaceX will conduct three flights of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft for NASA. This will culminate in Dragon berthing with the International Space Station and returning safely to Earth. When the Shuttle retires in 2010, Falcon 9/Dragon will have the opportunity to replace the Shuttle in servicing the Space Station.
About Avanti Communications Group
Avanti Communications Group plc (AIM: AVN) is the only licensed fixed and broadcast satellite operator headquartered in the UK (and one of only nine such groups operating in Europe). In August 2005 Ofcom awarded Avanti the right to provide satellite services using the geostationary orbital position at 33.5 degrees west with 3.6Ghz of radio spectrum which provides coverage of Western Europe and most of Central and Eastern Europe. The Company's first satellite, HYLAS, is financed and under construction for delivery in December 2008. HYLAS uses unique technologies to provide highly flexible and cost effective satellite capacity. Avanti Communications currently provides satellite telecommunications services to customers in Europe (using leased satellite capacity) which will transfer to HYLAS on launch. Avanti sells wholesale HYLAS capacity to telecoms and media service providers in Europe. The core applications for which Avanti expects HYLAS capacity to be used are broadband, corporate networks and video distribution.
Roger G. Gilbertson of SpaceX, +1-310-426-8446, media@SpaceX.com; or David Williams of Avanti Communications Group Plc, +44-(0)-207-749-1600