SpaceX has launched a Falcon 9 rocket with a previously-flown first stage booster carrying the SES 12 communications satellite, an all-electric, multi-band video and data relay platform to serve the Asia-Pacific region. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral occurred at 12:45 a.m. EDT (0445 GMT), and SpaceX did not plan to recover the first stage.
SpaceX is still working on a new, safer helium tank design needed for launches with astronauts, and the debut of the company’s upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket earlier this month did not count as one of seven successful missions in “crew configuration” NASA says it requires before putting astronauts aboard the vehicle, officials said Thursday.
SpaceX has delayed the launch of the SES 12 communications satellite until shortly after midnight Friday at Cape Canaveral, allowing teams additional time to complete pre-launch vehicle checks and wait for improved weather conditions. The launch, which was previously set for Thursday, is expected around 12:29 a.m. EDT (0429 GMT) Friday.