Falcon 9 Rocket Launched With EchoStar 23 Satellite After Postponement - SpaceX

Mar 19, 2017, 00:13
Falcon 9 Rocket Launched With EchoStar 23 Satellite After Postponement - SpaceX

The EchoStar XXIII satellite will lift off from Pad 39A at Florida's Kennedy Space Centre and is expected to deploy about 34 minutes after the launch. The satellite EchoStar 23 helps to provide broadcast services for Brazil.

Elon Musk's SpaceX has beaten Centennial-based United Launch Alliance for the first time on a competitively-bid rocket launch contract from the U.S. Air Force.

The company then launched a space station cargo ship from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on February 19, the first flight from the historic complex since the shuttle Atlantis took off on the program's final mission in July 2011.

The 229-foot-rocket blasted off at around 2 a.m.

So far, SpaceX hasn't yet reused the first stage of a rocket on a subsequent mission. The communication satellite, owned by EchoStar Corporation is meant to deliver superfast and high-end telecommunications service to Brazil. But ULA, the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture formed in 2006 that was the only company certified to launch such missions with its Atlas and Delta rockets, decided not to submit a bid. With 27 engines, the Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket ever besides the Saturn V.

The press release does not give details on which GPS III satellite SpaceX will launch and gives no launch date.

The Falcon 9 used for this morning's mission was noticeably different from what we're used to seeing fly out of the spaceport.

SpaceX became eligible to conduct military launches in May 2015 and won its first Pentagon contract, also for a Global Positioning System navigation satellite, in April 2016. There were two factors behind this.

It's the second contract SpaceX has landed with the U.S. Air Force, with the last being in April.

EchoStar was the second launch for SpaceX.

Musk's company had won a satellite launch contract worth $82.7 million with the Air Force in 2016. In a 2014 contract with NASA, the company agreed to lease the site as well as remodel its pad to accommodate the Falcon 9 and its successor, the Falcon Heavy.