SpaceX set to launch Falcon 9 early Monday

Cristina Cross
June 4, 2018

This flight will use Falcon 9 first stage rocket that first launched the US Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle on its fifth mission, last September. The SES-12 satellite was deployed about 32 minutes after liftoff. The initial launch was scheduled for last Friday but was canceled for more testing.

The 12,000-pound SES-12 spacecraft, built by Airbus Defence and Space, will deliver high-speed data to across Asia and the Pacific.

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The first stage has flown once before, in September 2017, carrying the robotic X-37B space plane for the US military. Liftoff occurred at 12:45 a.m. EDT. 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 SES-10 satellite lifted off on March 30, 2017, atop a Falcon 9 with a used first stage. It was be the company's 11th launch of the year, and the 13th time SpaceX has reused a Falcon booster.

Engineers and technicians with SpaceX are presently assessing the health and resiliency of that booster to ensure that these Block 5 variants can be flown multiple times without significant refurbishment.

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