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In the heat of competition: Because of SpaceX’s delays in launching the SES-9 communications satellite, the company has modified the launch profile of its Falcon 9 rocket, abandoning a land vertical landing and reducing the odds for a successful barge landing, in order to get the satellite to its proper orbit sooner.
SES will thus be able to generate income from the satellite at about the same time it would have had their launch not been delayed. SpaceX meanwhile will still try to recover the first stage, but will face much more difficult odds.
One industry official familiar with the SES-9 mission said Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX has not abandoned hope of recovering the first stage after a landing on an offshore platform positioned for the mission. But the chances of success are much less given the launch trajectory agreed to with SES to reduce the time to arrival at its operating position.