SpaceX launches communications satellite

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The Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying the SES 12 communications satellite for SES of Luxembourg. SpaceX wrote on Twitter, "Standing down from Friday's launch attempt to run additional test on Falcon 9's second stage".

The SES-12 satellite will provide direct-to-home broadcasting, VSAT, Mobility and High Throughput Satellite (HTS) data connectivity services in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, including India and Indonesia. The new SES satellite will reach and replace the existing satellite. The satellite will help communications companies deliver faster, more reliable internet, broadband and cellular services.

"We believe around there are 1 billion people in the Asia-Pacific market that still don't have good connectivity to the devices you're all holding in your hands right now", John-Paul Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks, told reporters before the launch. "All of these dynamic customer requirements can now be met with the successful launch of SES-12, which will provide incremental high performance capacity and offer greater reliability and flexibility to our customers", said Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer at SES. The all-electric SES-12 spacecraft was built by Airbus Defence and Space, and will rely on electric propulsion for orbit raising and subsequent in-orbit manoeuvres. After extensive tests and checkout, SES-12 should enter operational service early next year.

"SpaceX also is confronting industry doubts about market demand for its Falcon Heavy rocket", it said.

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This is part of SpaceX's wider goal to make launching rockets similar to commercial flights, where they "can be flown again and again".

SpaceX made no attempt to recover the earlier-generation "block 4" first stage, which was limited to only two flights. SpaceX is transitioning to an upgraded model, referred to as Block 5, which it says will be able to fly 10 or more times with minimal maintenance.

Storm clouds delayed the liftoff 16 minutes from the opening of the four-hour window at 12:29 a.m.

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