SpaceX Rocket Launch Of SES-12 Set For June 4, 2018

SpaceX goes for its 11th launch of the year early on Monday

SpaceX goes for its 11th launch of the year early on Monday

Without having to reserve propellants for a landing attempt, along with use of an upgraded block 5 second stage, the Falcon 9 is expected to boost the 11,800-pound SES-12 satellite into a "super-synchronous" transfer orbit, an ellipse with a high point of around 36,000 miles and a predicted low point of 182 miles.

SES-12 will operate under the authority of the Netherlands and will replace and augment the services now being provided on SES's NSS-6 satellite. The first stage of Falcon 9 will land on the floating platform as it was used previously.

It is created to support SES's direct-to-home broadcasting and data connectivity services in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, including rapidly growing markets such as India and Indonesia, according to SES.

SES is the world-leading satellite operator and the first to deliver a differentiated and scalable GEO-MEO offering worldwide, with more than 50 satellites in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and 16 in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO).

"We believe around there are 1 billion people in the Asia-Pacific market that still don't have good connectivity to the devices you're all holding in your hands right now", John-Paul Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks, told reporters before the launch.

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"It's big", said Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer at SES, of the satellite.

Instead, the satellite will rely on electric propulsion, using pulses of xenon gas to slowly circularize its orbit around the equator over a period of months. "And satellite is one of the (ways) - and sometimes the only way - to those markets".

Nighttime launches are always spectacular because of the bright light cast by a rocket lifting off, even more so if skies are clear.

SpaceX made no attempt to recover the earlier-generation "block 4" first stage, which was limited to only two flights.

Monday's launch was delayed three days so SpaceX could perform more tests on the Falcon 9's upper stage, which was the newer Block 5 version. SpaceX is in the process of transitioning to upgraded block 5 boosters that are created to make 50 to 60 flights before retirement. It was seeking to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

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