A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is ready to liftoff early Monday morning from Cape Canaveral carrying the SES 12 satellite. The satellite will be deployed roughly 32 minutes after liftoff.
Engineers and technicians with SpaceX are presently assessing the health and resiliency of that booster to ensure that these Block 5 variants can be flown multiple times without significant refurbishment.
This was the second mission for the launcher's first stage, which also helped loft the U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane last September. The satellite is headed for geostationary orbit, about 22,300 miles above Earth's surface, and will provide video and data services to customers across the Asia-Pacific region, SES representatives said.
SpaceX will not attempt to recover the first stage-the rocket will instead fall into the ocean. These activities are part of SpaceX's effort to develop fully and rapidly reusable rockets and spacecraft - technology that company founder and CEO Elon Musk has said could open the solar system to exploration by drastically reducing the cost of spaceflight. So far, only the first stages have been landed and launched again.