SpaceX says that its launch preparation of SES-10 is now underway. SpaceX says that this is the first-ever launch of a “flight-proven” rocket. Flight-proven can be translated as pre-used.
Local reports say that SpaceX carried out engine firing tests on the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage on February 3rd in Texas and prior to shipping the rocket to Florida.
SES-10 itself arrived at Cape Canaveral (from Airbus Defense & Space) in mid-January in readiness for launch. The satellite is destined to be positioned at 67 deg West and serve South and Central America, and replace AMC-4.
While SpaceX is not specific as to the likely launch date for SES-10 market rumours tentatively place it as March from Launch Pad 39A at Cape Canaveral.
The rocket being prepared was first used on a cargo mission to the International Space Station in April 2016.
SpaceX’s president Gwynne Shotwell told Reuters that the plan is to increase the pace and frequency of its launches, up to a launch every 2-3 weeks once the repairs to Pad 40 are completed. Pad 40 was damaged in an explosion on Sept 1st. Shotwell said repairs to Pad 40 would cost some $50 million.