Space Systems/Loral has shipped the AsiaSat 8 telecommunications satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, in preparation for a scheduled July launch aboard a Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Falcon 9 rocket, SSL and AsiaSat announced June 12.

Hong Kong-based AsiaSat, shorthand for Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd., will operate the satellite at 105.5 degrees east longitude alongside its AsiaSat 7 satellite. Carrying a combination of Ku- and Ka-band transponders, AsiaSat 8 will provide direct-to-home television and other services in Asia and the Middle East, AsiaSat said.

It will be the first launch on a Falcon 9 rocket for both SSL of Palo Alto, California, and AsiaSat, the companies said. SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, has launched two geostationary-orbiting satellites to date.

AsiaSat 8 is the third satellite SSL has built for the Hong Kong operator and is based on the SSL 1300 platform.  SSL is building two more satellites for AsiaSat, AsiaSat 6 and AsiaSat 9.