SES announced today that SES-12 was successfully launched onboard a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida, United States, at 00:45 local time.
SpaceX had already used the rocket's first booster stage to launch the US Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle back in September.
Air Force weather officials are predicting a 70 percent chance of good launch weather for the four-hour June 4 launch window, starting at 12:29 a.m. The satellite will join SES-8 at 95 degrees East. According to SES, the satellites will provide pay-TV operators the reliability and scalability to elevate viewing experiences by adding more content and delivering higher-quality picture quality to address the ever-increasing audience demand for HD and Ultra HD content.
The 5.4-ton (4,900kg/10,800lb) spacecraft, dubbed SES-12, will beam TV, data, and other communications services across the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. The company is expecting both the USA and Europe to turn to the Falcon Heavy in the next couple of years for certain satellite launches.
SpaceX later tweeted "Successful deployment of SES-12 to a geostationary transfer orbit confirmed".
This is part of SpaceX's wider goal to make launching rockets similar to commercial flights, where they "can be flown again and again".
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. "And satellite is one of the (ways) - and sometimes the only way - to connect.to those markets".