SpaceX launches communication satellite, ditches old booster

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The launch window opens at 12:24 a.m. EDT and closes at 5:21 a.m. EDT.

Thirty-two minutes later, after firing of engines, the top floor of the rocket used the communications satellite SES-12, which is one of the largest and most powerful, by SES of Luxembourg.

The mission marked the 13th time in 14 months that SpaceX has re-flown a used Falcon 9 booster, which the company refers to as a "flight proven" rocket.

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". It will replace and augment the services now being provided on SES' NSS-6 satellite.

'SES-12 is a uniquely designed satellite that will allow telephone companies, mobile network operators and internet service providers to deliver more reliable cellular backhaul and faster broadband service, ' SpaceX said in a statement.

The satellite's lightweight ion propulsion system will take over at that point, slowly but efficiently boosting the relay station into a circular orbit 22,300 miles above the equator.

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The older Block 4 model has been limited to two flights and is not being recovered to make room for the new rockets. "And satellite is one, and sometimes the only, way to connect 2G, 3G and 4G to those markets".

SpaceX says the team is using additional time to perform pre-launch vehicle checks and tests. After extensive tests and checkout, the spacecraft is expected to enter operational service early next year.

The Falcon 9 rocket is seeing more use due to upgrades that give it more thrust.

In January, the same newspaper reported that the National Board of the US on Aeronautics and research of space administration (NASA) postpones until spring 2019 start of regular manned flight spacecraft developed by SpaceX and Boeing.

Racing away to the east, the booster put on a brilliant light show as it powered out of the dense lower atmosphere, smoothly accelerating as it consumed its load of liquid oxygen and kerosene rocket fuel. Download the 10 News app now.

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