SpaceX and Boeing team up to launch a series of next-gen, and much lighter, commsats. Boeing builds the sats, and SpaceX does the launch on Falcon 9. Interesting given Boeing also makes the Delta family of launchers, but SpaceX's Falcon 9 is cheaper.
The problem with the article is that it quotes the Falcon 9 as being 18 stories (180 ft) tall. This is correct for the current Falcon 9 - Block 1 design, but by those launch dates (actually late 2012/early 2013) the Falcon 9 - Block 2 will be flying.
Falcon 9 - Block 2 will be 223 feet tall due to fuel & liquid oxygen tank volume increases needed for the much more powerful Merlin 1D engines. This "stretch" Falcon 9 will also serve as the core for the Falcon Heavy. Big and getting bigger
Boeing, SpaceX satellite deals provide boost to Southland
In an estimated $1-billion boost to the Southland aerospace industry, satellite maker Boeing Co. and rocket firm Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, announced plans to build and launch four satellites for telecommunications firms in Mexico and Hong Kong.
The companies' joint satellite order will help preserve high-paying engineering jobs in the South Bay and throws a lifeline to hundreds of smaller aerospace suppliers feeling an economic pinch with Pentagon and NASA budget cuts on the horizon.
In El Segundo, Boeing will build four minivan-size communication satellites in its million-square-foot complex near Los Angeles International Airport. In nearby Hawthorne, SpaceX makes its 18-story Falcon 9 rockets at a sprawling facility that once housed construction on 747 jumbo jet fuselage sections.
The rocket and satellites will be shipped to SpaceX's launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Fla., for launch in late 2014 or early 2015, the companies said.
The deals, announced Tuesday, were made in a joint procurement by regional satellite operators Asia Broadcast Satellite of Hong Kong and Satélites Mexicanos of Mexico City.
"Winning an international contract like this really speaks to the competitiveness and innovation of Southern California," said Elon Musk, SpaceX's chief executive and chief technology officer. "It means about $1 billion in revenue will come to L.A."
Craig R. Cooning, general manager of Boeing's space and intelligence systems, also recognized the contracts' importance to the region.
"We're two companies that have been adaptive to the changing marketplace," he said.
For Boeing, the deal represents the first sale of its new 702SP satellite. The spacecraft is a smaller version of the 702HP satellite that the company has sold to the Pentagon and communications giants such as DirecTV.
At launch time, the 702SP will weigh just under 4,000 pounds, as opposed to 13,000 pounds for the larger satellite.