SpaceX Postpones Launch of SES-12 satellite

 

SpaceX has postponed its scheduled launch of the commercial communication satellites, SES-12, to no later than Monday, June 4. The delay is to make way for further tests of the upper stage of the booster. The launch was initially scheduled for June 1, 2018.

They scheduled the lift-off for 12:29 am EDT at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. This delay is the second time the company is postponing the launch of the communication satellites. The first date was May 31, but the company allowed a one-day slip.

The last launch the Falcon 9’s first stage embarked on happened in September last year; the booster launched the U.S Air Force’s robotic X-37B space plane. The launch was successful. This booster is the block four variant of the Falcon 9, and it would not be making any new launches after the launch of the communication satellite. 

SES, a Luxembourg based telecom company ordered the SES-12 from Airbus Space and Defence. The satellite will provide direct-to-home video services for SES customers in the Asia Pacific region. The SES-12 satellite will replace the NSS-6 satellite, and it will land in a geostationary orbit 35900 Kilometers above the Earth. 

The company recently launched the Block 5 variant of the Falcon 9 upper stage. This variant is the first version to introduce heavy reusability. SpaceX can reuse the booster up to ten times with minor repairs and up to hundred times with significant maintenance.

The CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, is of the opinion that the ability to reuse the vehicle will slash cost considerably. The ability to reduce cost will bring the ambition of the colonization of Mars closer to reality. 

The company debuted the Block 5 on May 11, and the launch was a success. The vehicle launched Bangladeshi communication satellite Banghabandhu-1 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. French-based Thales Alenia Space built the Bangabandhu-1 satellite for the government of Bangladesh. The satellite will improve internet, radio, and general communication services in Bangladesh and its neighboring countries. 

This satellite is the first ever communication satellite for the country, and it was interesting to see it launch aboard the new Block 5 which is now the most potent existing booster. They named the satellite after Bangladeshi’s first president and founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The contributed to the independence of the country.

The name Bangabandhu is a title which means “Friend of Bengal.”