Elon Musk and his Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) are flying high after their first successful docking with the International Space Station and now the company has announced a 2013 commercial agreement with Itelsat, the world leader in satellite services. Intelsat has agreed to use the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket in 2013.
While the contracts value has not been announced its believed SpaceX will receive in the vicinity of $80 million – $125 million.
Elon Musk said of the new contract:
“SpaceX is very proud to have the confidence of Intelsat. The Falcon Heavy has more than twice the power of the next largest rocket in the world. With this new vehicle, SpaceX launch systems now cover the entire spectrum of the launch needs for commercial, civil and national security customers.”
SpaceX is believed to be launching at least one satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) after performing a variety of test launches on the heavy rocket.
Speaking of the agreement Intelsat CTO Thierry Guillemin said:
“Timely access to space is an essential element of our commercial supply chain. As a global leader in the satellite sector, our support of successful new entrants to the commercial launch industry reduces risk in our business model. Intelsat has exacting technical standards and requirements for proven flight heritage for our satellite launches.”
The contract comes at a time when the Falcon Heavy Rocket is still awaiting a new launch pad which is currently being built at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
According to redOrbit the SpaceX Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V, featuring 3.8 million pounds of thrust from 27 first-stage engines.