Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Sci-tech | By Lila Blake

SpaceX Falcon 9 delivers massive commercial satellite to orbit from Cape Canaveral

SpaceX Falcon 9 delivers massive commercial satellite to orbit from Cape Canaveral

If this launch of SpaceX would not have taken place on Monday, the following window was scheduled for Tuesday, 5 June.

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.

Thirty-two minutes later, after firing of engines, the top floor of the rocket used the communications satellite SES-12, which is one of the largest and most powerful, by SES of Luxembourg. SpaceX is switching to a new and improved line of boosters, and so made no effort to recover this one.

SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson was quoted as saying the company "is still planning to fly private individuals around the moon and there is growing interest from many customers".


SpaceX had already used the rocket's first booster stage to launch the US Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle back in September.

Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer for SES, said at a pre-launch press conference last week: 'The first stage is a Block 4, and the upper stage is a Block 5'. At that altitude and equatorial orientation, satellites take 24 hours to complete one orbit and thus appear stationary in the sky despite Earth's rotation. The good side of all this is it actually extends our (on orbit) life capability from 15 to 22 years.

Halliwell said SES-12, built by Airbus Defense and Space, combines features that would have required two spacecraft just a few years ago, providing direct-to-home television and other communications services through six beams covering an enormous area with multiple beams providing broadband connectivity.

SES-12 eventually will be maneuvered into its operational position at 95 degrees east longitude, co-located with SES-8.


The communications satellite SES-12, weighing near about 5.4-ton is created to provide data, video, and other services reinforcing communications across the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific area.

'So five seconds more to burn, a little bit more fuel, and it completely changes the dynamics of the project'.

"If you take all those numbers together, this is really exciting for us", he said.


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