Published: Wed, June 06, 2018
Sci-tech | By Eric Barnett

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

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

A communications satellite of Luxembourg-based SES took off Monday aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

SES-12 is capable of broadcasting and providing broadband data services focused on the high-growth Asia-Pacific region. The satellite will join SES-8 at 95 degrees East. It will replace and augment the services now being provided on SES's NSS-6 satellite.

Together with SES-8, SES-12 will reach 18 million TV homes, and provide pay-TV operators scalability by adding more content and delivering higher picture quality to address demand for High Definition (HD) and Ultra-HD content.

The SES-12 satellite is able to carry more communications payloads because it carries very little of the chemical fuel most spacecraft use to maneuver and hold their positions.

Two space tourists who have already paid "a significant deposit" were supposed to be launched to lunar orbit later this year, SpaceX announced last year.

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"It's big", said Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer at SES, of the satellite.

Elon Musk's SpaceX announced back in February previous year that, in late 2018, it would fly two paying space tourists around the Moon and back to Earth.

Following separation from the launcher, the most powerful all-electric satellite ever has completed its initialization phase and has started its electric orbit raising (EOR) operations as planned.

Without having to reserve propellants for a landing attempt, along with use of an upgraded block 5 second stage, the Falcon 9 was expected to boost the 11,800-pound SES-12 satellite into a "super-synchronous" transfer orbit, an ellipse with a high point of around 36,000 miles and a predicted low point of 182 miles. Weather officials said this is from a weak surface front that will be bring west-southwest winds during the launch window. After extensive tests and checkout, SES-12 should enter operational service early next year.

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