PARIS — Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will launch the AsiaSat 6 and AsiaSat 8 commercial telecommunications satellites in 2014 under a contract announced Feb. 8 by satellite fleet operator AsiaSat of Hong Kong.
Both satellites are under construction by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif.
The contract with Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX, whose Falcon 9 rocket is still under development for missions to the geostationary orbit used by most telecommunications satellites, gives SpaceX its second customer in Asia following a 2011 contract with Thaicom of Thailand.
Thaicom is also involved in the AsiaSat contract insofar as it is paying AsiaSat $171 million over 15 years for half of the capacity of AsiaSat 6. The satellite, to be located at 120 degrees east longitude, will carry 28 C-band transponders. Thaicom’s share will be rebranded Thaicom 7 for marketing purposes.