Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 with SES-12 slips to NET June 4
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — With hours left on the Countdown Clock, the planned launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was pushed back to June 4 to allow the NewSpace company time to conduct additional checks of the rocket’s second stage.
The Falcon 9 tapped to launch the SES-12 communications satellite had been slated to launch on May 31, then it slipped to June 1 at 12:29 a.m. EDT (0429 UTC).
The company provided the following update on Twitter: Standing down from Friday’s launch attempt to run additional tests on Falcon 9’s second stage. Rocket and payload are in good health. Currently working toward a June 4 launch of SES-12 from Pad 40 in Florida.
“Pad 40” – refers to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40.
SpaceX carried out a static test fire of the rocket back on May 24 in preparation for the May 31 launch attempt. Four days later the Hawthorne, California-based aerospace firm announced that the launch had slipped to June 1.
The company stated that the previous delays were weather-related and that additional checks of the rocket were required. This Falcon 9 has taken to the skies above the Cape before. It was used to launch the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B automated mini-shuttle on the OTV-5 mission back in September of 2017.
SES has provided the following description of the SES-12 spacecraft that is the payload on this mission: The SES-12 satellite will expand SES’s capabilities to provide direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting, VSAT, Mobility and High Throughput Satellite (HTS) data connectivity services in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, including rapidly growing markets such as India and Indonesia. The satellite will replace NSS-6 at this location and will be co-located with SES-8. SES-12 is capable of supporting requirements in multiple verticals from Cyprus in the West to Japan in the East, and from Russia in the North to Australia in the South.
SpaceX had recently begun flying the Block 5 version of the Falcon 9. However, for this flight, one of the prior Block 4s was selected and the first stage’s iconic landing legs removed.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.