Airmen support SES-8 Satellite launch

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The 45th Space Wing supported Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to complete a successful launch of the SES-8 communications satellite here Dec. 3.

Airmen, Air Force civilians and contractors from the 45th Space Wing provided weather forecasts, launch and range operations, security, safety, medical and public affairs support. The wing also provided its vast network of radar, telemetry, optical and communications instrumentation to facilitate a safe launch.

"For the second time in a little more than two weeks, the 45th Space Wing and our mission partners have worked together to ensure another successful launch here on the Eastern Range," said Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, the commander of the 45th Space Wing, who also served as the launch decision authority for this mission. "It's gratifying to see a varied, high-performing team like this come together time and time-again. We are truly grateful for the outstanding space team we have here on the space coast,"

Launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the payload flew on the Falcon 9 v1.1 configuration with upgraded Merlin 1D engines, stretched fuel tanks, and a payload fairing.

According to SES website, the launch of SES-8, which will be released in a super synchronous transfer orbit stretching above its 22,300-mile-high operating post, requires two burns of the Falcon 9 second stage. The first firing will place SES-8 in a low-altitude parking orbit, then the second burn is designed to inject the 7,055-pound craft in an oval-shaped orbit. The SES-8 will maneuver itself into a circular orbit 22,300 miles over the equator, sliding into position in the geostationary arc at 95 degrees east longitude.

The satellite features up to 33 Ku-band transponders (36 MHz equivalent). SES-8 will be co-located with NSS-6 at the orbital location of 95 degrees east to provide growth capacity over Asia-Pacific. The spacecraft's high performance beams will support the rapidly growing markets in South Asia and Indo-China, as well as provide expansion capacity for Direct to Home, Very small aperture satellite terminal and government applications.

(Information courtesy of the 45th Space Wing Public Affairs and the SES website)