Falcon 9 soars into space with SES 12

Falcon 9 soars into space with SES 12

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a SES-12 communcations satellite blasted into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida early on Monday.

The last launch the Falcon 9's first stage embarked on happened in September a year ago; the booster launched the U.S Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane.

This mission was aimed at transferring the communications satellite SES-12 into its "geostationary transfer orbit".

Elon Musk's SpaceX is delaying trips around the moon for tourists. The weather appears favorable, with a 70 percent chance of "go" conditions.

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'.

SpaceX will not attempt to land this Falcon 9 first stage on land or sea.

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The satellite's lightweight ion propulsion system will slowly but efficiently boost the relay station into a circular orbit 22,300 miles above the equator.

The firm launched the Block 5 for the first time on May 11 following a botched attempt the day before in which a flight was aborted less than a minute before lift-off. "It's basically two satellites in one". We're nearly going to the limit of what we can do with the spacecraft.

According to SpaceFlightNow, the SES 12 satellite will provide direct-to-home broadcast and other high-throughput communications services in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, including rapidly growing markets such as India and Indonesia. SES-12 is designed for an operational life of some 15 years.

SpaceX is also planning to send astronauts to the International Space Station later this year, marking the first time since the USA space shuttle program ended in 2011 that people have blasted to space from U.S. soil.

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

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