Coming hot on the heels of their flawless communications satellite launch on May 11, SpaceX is now busy preparing Falcon 9 for the upcoming SES-12 satellite that it will launch into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s SLC-40 on Thursday, May 31. This will be an important date as it will mark the sixth successful launch of an SES satellite by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.
When it comes to satellites, SES is currently the second biggest owner on the planet. The Luxembourg company controls over 50 satellites that are now in geostationary orbits, while it can also count 16 that are medium-Earth orbit satellites, as Spaceflight Insider reports.
The new SpaceX mission is one that will have two purposes with its launch of the SES-12 satellite that will finally replace the NSS-6 that is currently in orbit. The new satellite will have the distinct advantage of being able to supply telecom infrastructure services along with television broadcasting over the entirety of Asia, and broadband services will also be provided throughout Australia, Japan, Africa, and Russia thanks to its special flexible multi-beam processed payload.
After the launch of the SES-12 satellite, its new home will be situated directly above the Indian Ocean, and SpaceX will be using the Block 4 variant of the Falcon 9, which will make it the 11th Block 4 flight since August 14, 2017.
While it has been rumored that the May 31 launch of the Falcon 9 with the SES-12 satellite will occur between the hours of 12:29 a.m. and 1:27 a.m, the Orlando Sentinel reports that it is important to note that SpaceX has not officially confirmed the exact time of launch and that this window of time was originally cited by SpaceFlight Now.
It is greatly hoped that with the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission happening around this time that the Alberto storm will have passed over the region, making for a smooth launch. There is also the added benefit that with the flight happening while it is still dark, it will make for a much more dramatic and colorful launch, especially when viewed close to the water.
After SpaceX’s launch of the SES-12 satellite on May 31, the company’s next planned launches will be the Telstar 19V satellite and CRS-15.