SpaceX launches communications satellite

SpaceX launches communications satellite

SpaceX launches communications satellite

Thirty-two minutes later, after two engine firings, the rocket's upper stage deployed the SES-12 communications satellite, one of the largest and most powerful ever flown by Luxembourg-based operator SES.

According to the reported schedule, the SES-12 satellite lifted off from the launch pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Over the next five years in the SES-12 service region, SES expects 80 million more direct-to-home television viewers, "and obviously, this satellite will be a great way to deliver that content to the homes across all of Asia-Pacific", Hemingway said.

SpaceX says the team is using additional time to perform pre-launch vehicle checks and tests.

SpaceX's valuation has climbed to about $25 billion (€21 billion) with a new funding round, putting it on course to become the third-most valuable venture-backed startup in the U.S. after Uber Technologies and Airbnb. Instead, the spent stage will simply crash back into the ocean.

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Standing some 27 feet tall and weighing almost 12,000 pounds, Halliwell joked that the spacecraft built in France by Airbus Defense and Space barely fit inside the Falcon 9 rocket's nose cone, or payload fairing. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and its payload occurred at 12:45 a.m. EDT. The satellite will join SES-8 at 95 degrees East. The all-electric SES-12 spacecraft was built by Airbus Defence and Space, and will rely on electric propulsion for orbit raising and subsequent in-orbit manoeuvres.

14 months ago, SES became the first customer of SpaceX to launch on a used rocket.

"We get a lot of performance from this vehicle", Martin Halliwell, chief technical officer of SES, said of the Falcon 9. After extensive tests and checkout, SES-12 should enter operational service early next year. "And satellite is one of the (ways) - and sometimes the only way - to those markets".

Musk has referred to the Block 5 as the "finished version" of SpaceX's Falcon 9, as it has been created to endure up to 100 flights in a single lifespan.

No attempt was made to land the booster after its second flight.

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