While the Falcon 9 launch vehicle of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is repidly becoming the commercial launch vehicle of choice due to its low price (though Arianespace remains market leader), satellite operators are still wary of Falcon 9 launch schedule delays. As such, some operators are now booking back up launches with other launch providers lest SpaceX cannot get their “birds” up on time.
One of these is the Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co (Asiasat) which has announced on 28 November that it has signed an agreement with the Sea Launch AG firm to provide back up launches on the Zenit 3-SL rocket in case its Falcon 9 launches are delayed.
“We are very pleased to build upon our relationship with AsiaSat with this very important agreement” said Kjell Karlsen, President of Sea Launch in a news release. “Sea Launch is excited to play a role for AsiaSat in assuring the on-time deployment of its spacecraft.”