Early this morning SpaceX successfully launched the SES-12 satellite, the launch was originally scheduled for May 31st but was delayed to allow SpaceX additional time to check the rocket’s second stage to ensure mission success.
The nine Merlin 1D engines came to life at 12:45 am EDT following a smooth countdown and propelled the payload to orbit, this was the 11th launch of the year for SpaceX. There was no attempt to salvage the first stage which had been flown on a previous mission to boost the Airforces X-37B spaceplane. The payload fairings where set to be picked up from the ocean once they had landed as the catcher boat is still station off the West Coast as they perfect the process of catching them.
To date, SpaceX has launched 55 Falcon 9’s, 13 of them reused.
SpaceX successfully launched GovSat 1 today for their second launch of 2018, the Falcon 9 first stage used for this launch was previously flown in May 2017 and was disposed of in the Atlantic Ocean after successfully separating from the second stage. The second stage continued to orbit where is successfully delivered the GovSat 1 satellite.
Built by Orbital ATK for LuxGovSat, a joint venture between SES and the government of Luxembourg will provide secure military X-band and Ka-band communications links, helping support Luxembourg’s NATO obligations
Initially, it was thought that SpaceX wasn’t going to attempt any recovery on this mission as they didn’t send out the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, however, they did send out some of the support ships and now we know why based on this tweet from Elon Musk