Feeds

To the MONEY RING: Musk's SpaceX to attempt boldest mission yet

Geosynch debut takes upstart rocket biz into the real 'commercial space'

High performance access to file storage

Updated It's yet another fateful day for upstart startup rocket biz SpaceX and its visionary founder Elon Musk. Today the company will attempt for the first time to put a satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit - and so enter the main space arena in which serious commercial money can be made today.

Geostationary orbit is the magic ring around the planet 35,786km above the equator, where a satellite in a stable trajectory goes round the planet in exactly 24 hours and thus hovers stationary above a point on the surface. This means that a dish pointing at such a satellite does not need to move to track it, and the satellite is always there.

That makes the satellite hugely more valuable for most commercial purposes than one which barrels briefly across the sky as it will if placed in low orbit. So, though it takes a lot more rocket poke to get up to GTO, the satellite operator will pay a lot, lot more to the launch provider. In fact the bulk of the commercial, private sector space launch market - by money, if not by numbers of satellites - is geostationary. The belt of spacecraft circling the Earth almost 36,000km out is effectively the Money Ring for those who want to make a commercial buck in space today (though if you don't mind working for the government it may be more lucrative still to focus on putting large payloads into low polar orbits, as SpaceX also hopes to do).

Today, SpaceX aims to send up a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral and deliver a communications bird for satellite multinational SES to the point on the Money Ring 95 degrees east of Greenwich, where it will bring various services to southern Asia. The launch window opens at 5:37pm Eastern US time (10:37pm GMT).

The company says:

SES-8 will be SpaceX’s first launch to a geostationary transfer orbit ... and most challenging mission to date.

The launch will be streamed live by SpaceX here.

Say what you like about Elon Musk and/or SpaceX, there's never a dull moment with them around. ®

Updated at 2355 GMT, 1555 PT

The launch was scrubbed: more information right here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.