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SpaceX wins Kacific, Sky Perfect Jsat condosat launch, new or used rocket TBD

Kacific-1 Boeing
Kacific has finalized its Boeing-order for a high-throughput condosat with Sky Perfect JSAT. Credit: Boeing

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.

Caleb Henry is a SpaceNews staff writer covering satellites, telecom and launch. He previously worked for Via Satellite and NewSpace Global.He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science along with a minor in astronomy from Grove...