SpaceX launches satellite from Kennedy Space Center

In Science
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The third time was the charm for as it successfully launched a satellite aboard its Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center.

After scrubs on launch attempts on Sunday and Monday, SpaceX was able to put a nearly 15,000-pound satellite into space for the Luxembourg-based company Intelsat. The actual deployment of the satellite is set to take place 32 minutes after liftoff.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the company spent July 4 reviewing rocket and pad systems to make sure the new attempt from launch pad 39A went off successfully.

The satellite was built by Boeing and is part of Intelsat’s “next generation” constellation of satellites, the fourth sent up by the company. The new satellites are geared to offer higher quality Internet service and mobile communications.

Both previous attempts to launch the rocket were scrubbed just 10 seconds before planned liftoff by automated computer systems.

Unlike other SpaceX launches from Kennedy Space Center, there will be no attempt to recover the first stage rocket booster because the satellite payload is the heaviest ever for the Falcon 9, and has to be placed into a higher orbit, meaning more rocket fuel will be used, and no chance for recovery.

This was the third rocket launch for the Hawthorne, California-based company in two weeks. The company launched a Bulgarian satellite from Kennedy Space Center on June 23 as well as 10 satellites on June 25 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Earlier this week, SpaceX welcomed home the Dragon cargo capsule from the International Space Station. The splashdown in the Pacific Ocean marked the completion of the first reused commercial spacecraft to be sent to and returned home from the space station.

The Dragon capsule launched from Kennedy Space Center on June 3 and undocked from the ISS on July 2. The same capsule made its first trip to the ISS three years earlier. The reuse of the capsule and reuse of the rocket boosters by the company are part of its efforts to drive down launch costs.

SpaceX’s cargo capsule is the only supply ship able to survive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

The Wednesday night launch was the 11th from Cape Canaveral from all companies in 2017 and the 102nd mission to launch from that historic complex that was home to Apollo and space shuttle missions.

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