Elon Musk's SpaceX has extended the date of the launch of a commercial communications satellite named SES-12 to June 4, 2018.
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.
Like SES-14 and SES-15, which serve the Americas, the SES-12 high throughput payload is SES' solution for enhancing connectivity in the aeronautical and maritime segments across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. SES-12 will also be pivotal in enabling governments to provide connectivity programmes to bridge the digital divide, and in allowing telcos, mobile network operators and internet service providers to deliver more reliable cellular backhaul and faster broadband services.
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SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson was quoted as saying the company "is still planning to fly private individuals around the moon and there is growing interest from many customers". The satellite will join SES-8 at 95 degrees East.
Instead, the satellite will rely on electric propulsion, using pulses of xenon gas to slowly circularize its orbit around the equator over a period of months. SpaceX is switching to a new and improved line of boosters, and so made no effort to recover this one. It is expected to enter service in late January or early February. "And satellite is one, and sometimes the only, way to connect 2G, 3G and 4G to those markets". SpaceX is in the process of transitioning to upgraded block 5 boosters that are created to make 50 to 60 flights before retirement.
In January, the same newspaper reported that the National Board of the United States of America on Aeronautics and research of space administration (NASA) postpones until spring 2019 start of regular manned flight spacecraft developed by SpaceX and Boeing. It is the 10th time Space X will reuse a rocket. Another commercial satellite launch from the Cape may also be possible.