SpaceX wins Kacific, Sky Perfect Jsat condosat launch, new or used rocket TBD
Updated Sept. 5 at 6:46 p.m. Eastern with additional information from Kacific.
WASHINGTON — Two Asia-Pacific-based satellite operators have agreed to launch a shared high-throughput satellite on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket during the second half of 2019, the companies said today.
The Kacific-1/JCSAT-18 “condosat” — a satellite that supports separate operator payloads on the same spacecraft bus — is currently under construction at Boeing Satellite Systems International.
It is the first satellite for Singaporean startup Kacific, which raised $147 million in 2016 and as of February had $434 million in pre-launch bandwidth contracts confirmed. Kacific-1’s 56 Ka-band spot beams will concentrate capacity on islands and geographically isolated areas of the Asia-Pacific — a market the company says is largely neglected by other operators.
In a Sept. 5 statement to SpaceNews, Kacific said the operator and Sky Perfect Jsat have yet to decide whether the launch will use a new or pre-flown Falcon 9.
“We have not yet made that decision, and will do so with our launch partners,” Kacific said.
Kacific says Kacific-1 will have “the most powerful signal level ever achieved in a commercial satellite in the South East Asia and Pacific regions.” To lay the groundwork for the new satellite, Kacific has been pooling Ku-band capacity from other satellites to provide an interim service with Australian teleport operator Av-Comm.
Sky Perfect Jsat of Tokyo will use its half of the satellite for HTS Ku- and Ka-band telecommunications services across the Asia-Pacific, including Russia’s Far East. JCSAT-18 will also support traditional wide-beam capacity over East Asia.
Sharing the spacecraft bus and launch lets Kacific and Sky Perfect Jsat split the cost for both, lowering the mission’s financial burden on each operator.