Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

SpaceX launches SES-12 communications satellite

SpaceX launches SES-12 communications satellite

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. The initial launch was scheduled for last Friday but was canceled for more testing. But the company announced the need for additional tests to the rocket's upper stage.

The rocket's first stage booster has flown before, back in September when it launched the U.S. Air Force's top-secret military space plane, the X-37B.

This is the second time that Falcon 9 has taken off from the same pad.

The plan was for the tourists to fly on a Dragon Crew spacecraft launched from Earth by a Falcon Heavy rocket.

Elon Musk's SpaceX announced back in February past year that, in late 2018, it would fly two paying space tourists around the Moon and back to Earth. The first stage is part of the Falcon 9 "Block 4" build, which is an older variant that SpaceX is phasing out.

SpaceX has also tried several times to snatch Falcon 9 nose cones out of the sky with a net-equipped boat called Mr. Steven, so that these $6 million pieces of equipment can be reused.

SpaceX won't land the booster again, as the company is trying to phase out the Block 4 rockets for the new Block 5 configuration.

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