SpaceX launches SES-12 communications satellite

Pablo Tucker
June 4, 2018

The first stage successfully landed during a flight in September, but was allowed to crash into the sea Monday because it's being discontinued.

A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket topped with the SES-12 commercial communications satellite lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station today (June 4) at 12:45 a.m. EDT (0445 GMT). The launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., has a four-hour window that opens 12:29am ET (04:29 UTC).

SpaceX has since upgraded its Falcon 9 rocket, so it did not attempt a recovery effort of the booster this time. The original plan was for SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket to power the mission, but Musk said a few months ago that the company would probably use its "Big F-ing Rocket" (BFR) instead. "Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm it does not need to be taken apart".

The goal of the launch is for the SES-12 spacecraft to reach geostationary orbit. The initial launch was scheduled for last Friday but was canceled for more testing.

About 32 minutes later, the Falcon 9's upper stage deployed the Airbus-built SES 12 telecom payload into a "supersynchronous" transfer orbit stretching more than 36,000 miles (58,000 kilometers) above Earth. The satellite will provide data and video services to millions of people throughout the Asia-Pacific region, said representatives of SES, the Luxembourg-based company that will operate the spacecraft.

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