High Throughput SES-12 Comsat for Asia Ready for Blastoff On 1st ‘Flight-Proven’ SpaceX Falcon 9 Amalgam June 4: Watch Live

SES-12 comsat poised for liftoff under gloomy dismal rain drenched
skies atop SpaceX  Falcon 9 poised for midnight Monday
liftoff 12:29 am ET June
4, 2018
from
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Credit:
Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Ken Kremer     SpaceUpClose.com     3 June 2018


CAPE CANAVERAL
AIR FORCE STATION, FL – The massively large and powerful, high throughput
SES-12 commercial communications satellite for Asian markets is ready for
blastoff on a first-of-its-kind Falcon 9 rocket amalgam of old and new models –
just after midnight Monday morning, June 4 from Florida’s Spaceport after being
delayed from last week to verify readiness of the second stage.





The SES-12 launch
is now targeted for midnight Monday morning June 4 at 1
2:29 a.m. EDT (0429 GMT) at the opening of a four-hour long launch
window, from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.





Plus the launch weather
outlook is good at this time! 




This Falcon 9
rocket is comprised of a unique combination of old and new involving a
‘Flight-Proven’ Block 4 first stage and a new and improved Block 5 upper stage.
The first stage is expendable and will not be recovered.



SES-12 comsat poised for liftoff under gloomy dismal rain drenched
skies atop SpaceX  Falcon 9 poised for midnight Monday
liftoff 12:29 am ET June
4, 2018
from
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Credit:
Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com


We can confirm
that the 229-foot tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket rolled out overnight to pad
40 with SES-12 encapsulated inside the payload fairing and was raised vertical  – as verified in our exclusive SpaceUpClose.com
photo taken this morning, Sunday, June 3.
Massive  SES-12 comsat is erect on pad 40 Sunday morning June 3  housed inside the payload fairing atop combo
Block 4 1st stage/Block5 upper stage 
SpaceX  Falcon 9 poised for midnight Monday
liftoff 12:29 am ET June
4, 2018
from
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Credit:
Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

In fact SES-12 is
so big – think school bus sized – that it just barely fits inside the nose cone,
said
SES Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Martin Halliwell at the prelaunch press conference last Thursday.
“SES-12 is the
most powerful spacecraft ever built for us,” said Halliwell. ‘It’s really,
really big.”
“Its like 2
satellites in one common bus supporting 6 wide beams and 72 high throughput
data beams.”

SES-12 weighs
5383 kg and measure 3.5 m x 3.5 m x 8 m. 


Artist’s concept of SES-12 communications satellite in
orbit.  Credit: SES

You can watch the launch live at a SpaceX hosted webcast starting about 15
minutes prior to opening of the nominal launch window
at:
spacex.com/webcast
Forecasters with
the 45th Space Wing are predicting a 70 percent chance of favorable
weather.
The primary
concern is for liftoff winds.
In case of a 24
hour delay to Tuesday the weather prospects jump to 80 percent favorable.
So it may be time
to consider traveling to the Space Coast area for what promises to be a
spectacular nighttime launch – if all continues to go well and no further technical
or weather issues arise.
If you do travel
here, be sure to pack some drinks, snacks and chairs because t
he
four hour window runs through the overnight hours until
4:29 a.m. EDT (0829
GMT)





Up close view
of the nose cone encapsulating SES-12 comsat atop
SpaceX Falcon 9 slated for liftoff on June
4, 2018 from Space launch Complex-40 on
Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com


This launch news follows a four day delay announced last Thursday
when
SpaceX said engineers needed to run “run
additional tests” on the workhorse Falcon 9 vehicles second stage.
“Standing down from
Friday’s launch attempt to run additional tests on Falcon 9’s second stage,”
SpaceX tweeted.
“Rocket and payload are
in good health. Currently working toward a June 4 launch of SES-12 from Pad 40
in Florida.”
SES amplified on the delay at the media
briefing held Friday shortly after the SpaceX announcement.
“We are working a
couple of issues and SpaceX wants to run more tests on the upper stage,” s
aid SES Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Martin Halliwell at the prelaunch press conference.
The launch
vehicle which utilizes a recycled first stage booster from the OTV-5 mission launch
in September 2017 and the hefty 5383 kilogram satellite were kept safe inside
the pad processing hangar for testing and protection from the continuing pattern
of drenching rain storms and thunder these past few days.
SpaceX will not attempt to recover the first stage booster on the
OCISLY droneship, said Halliwell.  OCISLY
is normally prepositioned at sea in the Atlantic Ocean some 400 miles (600 km)
off the east coast of Florida for ocean landings. OCISLY has remained docked in
Port Canaveral.
Rather the 15 story tall booster “is
expandable and will be “sent straight into the ocean.”
“There will be no recovery and
there are no landing legs.”



“We’ve
actually stripped everything off the first stage, so there are no landing legs
on board,” Halliwell noted.


“This
is going straight into the ocean. The first stage is a Block 4 and the upper
stage is a Block 5.
  We get a lot
of performance from this vehicle.”

Up close view
of the legless SpaceX Falcon 9 launching SES-12 comsat on June 4, 2018 from Space launch Complex-40 on Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

If SpaceX
engineers confirm that all is well with the second stage, the recycled Falcon 9
booster will blastoff sometime during Monday’s four-hour launch window which
was significantly enlarged to find an acceptable slot in between the iffy
weather prospects.
“The situation at
the moment is that we would commence countdown on Sunday and we are looking for
a launch early Monday morning,” Halliwell explained.
“We have worked
together with SpaceX and Airbus to increase the launch window – so we have a 4
hour launch window. This gives us an increased opportunity with the weather.
“Probably what we
will do is stop the countdown at around T Minus 70 minutes. And then we are
going to wait and work together with the 45th Space Wing weather
squadron and look for a slot. We are actually going to thread the needle. We
will wait until we get less cloud cover, winds are good, and then we are going
to launch.”
“It’s going to be
real tight! And it’s going to be a long night launching sometime between half
past midnight and half past four a.m.”
“Testing of the
rocket is ongoing and hopefully we get everything cleared. Then we will rollout
around 3 a.m. Sunday morning,”
Halliwell explained.
SES-12
was built by prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space and was originally
designed to operate for 15 years in geostationary orbit.
But
the life time will be extended about 7 years from 15 to 22 years by firing the
second stage engine for 2 to 5 seconds longer
“It will come
into service for us in January or February 2019.”
“SES-12 is our 6th
satellite launch by SpaceX.”

SES-12 communications satellite undergoes Rf testing prior
to launch on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Credit: SES

The
Falcon 9 rocket is comprised of a unique combination of old and new involving a
‘Flight-Proven’ Block 4 first stage and a new and improved Block 5 upper stage.


The upgraded
Block 5 Falcon 9 just successfully flew its maiden flight last month for the
Bangabandhu-1 comsat for Bangladesh on May 11. 





SES-12
will be co-located with SES-8 at the 95 degrees
East orbital slot. Combined they
will
serve to reach
over 18 million SES
video, data and TV customers across the Asia-Pacific region. It will replace
and augment services currently provided on NSS-6.











The path to
launch was cleared last week when SpaceX engineers conducted a successful hold
down static fire test of the rocket at the pad, minus the payload, wherein the
two stages were fueled with propellants completing a full countdown simulation.

During the dress
rehearsal all 9 Merlin 1D first stage engines are ignited to full thrust for
several seconds while the rocket is held down at the pad.












Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.



Stay tuned here for
Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com



………….



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Learn more about the upcoming SES-12 comsat launch
and upcoming/recent
SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-15
launch to ISS, Falcon Heavy, TESS, GOES-S, Bangabandhu-1, NASA missions, ULA
Atlas & Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events
at Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings:



Jun
3/4
: “SES-12 comsat launch,
SpaceX Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9 launches, ULA Atlas USAF SBIRS GEO 4 missile
warning satellite, SpaceX GovSat-1, CRS-15 resupply launches to the ISS, NRO
& USAF Spysats, SLS, Orion, Boeing and SpaceX Commercial crew capsules,
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explore Mars, NH at Pluto and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn,
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Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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