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SpaceX prepares for Monday launch of SES-12 satellite

04 June 2018

Flying with a reused first stage booster, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket climbed into orbit from Florida's Space Coast early Monday with a commercial communications satellite for the Luxembourg-based operator SES. According to the mission's press kit, the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage will deploy the satellite 32 minutes and 14 seconds after liftoff.

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SpaceX has successfully launched a satellite using a pre-flown rocket yet again. The first stage came back to Earth for a pinpoint landing during its first flight, but it did not repeat that feat today; the booster is part of the now-discontinued "Block 4" Falcon 9 build, and SpaceX let the sea claim it. But the company announced the need for additional tests to the rocket's upper stage. This satellite will provide video, data, and other communications services across the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. Operating under such heavy reuse is the breakthrough expected to slash the cost of spaceflight, helping more lofty space exploration goals to be financially feasible, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said. The company intends to fly a handful more of its used Block 4 versions of the Falcon 9 rocket before fully transitioning to the Block 5 version later this summer or early fall. So far, only the first stages have been landed and launched again.

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SpaceX prepares for Monday launch of SES-12 satellite