SpaceX launches SES-12 into orbit using previously flown first stage

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Without having to reserve propellants for a landing attempt, along with use of an upgraded block 5 second stage, the Falcon 9 is 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.

The launch was set to attempt liftoff on Friday, with a launch window set for 12:29 a.m.

The Falcon 9's first stage had supported the OTV-5 mission in September 2017, according to a SpaceX press kit.

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About 27 feet tall and almost 12,000 pounds heavy, Halliwell joked that the spacecraft built by Airbus Defense and Space in France hardly fit into the nose of the Falcon 9 rocket or payload fairing.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted out the mission's success early Monday morning. The satellite will help communications companies deliver faster, more reliable internet, broadband and cellular services.

'From its orbital position, SES-12 will also be pivotal in supporting government efforts to bridge the digital divide through connectivity programs and provide television operators with additional capacity to deliver more content and higher picture quality to meet customer demand'.

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Nighttime launches are always spectacular because of the bright light cast by a rocket lifting off, even more so if skies are clear. The spent stage then fell away and the single engine powering the second stage took over to continue the trip to space.

"We get a lot of performance from this vehicle", Martin Halliwell, chief technical officer of SES, said of the Falcon 9. At the moment, this figure dropped to 40%, reflecting a sharp decline in the world in the number of orders for the construction and launch of larger commercial satellites.

Space X is phasing out older models of Falcon 9s after two flights on Falcon of upgraded version so that it will be able to launch 10 or more times. Further, the company added, "Rocket and payload are in good health".

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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".