CAPE CANAVERAL — SpaceX got lucky on its second attempt to launch a communications satellite into orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket early Thursday. The liftoff was postponed by heavy winds Tuesday.
The launch into a cloudless sky was SpaceX’s second from historic pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, a former launch site for Saturn V moon rockets and space shuttles. SpaceX successfully activated the pad with a Feb. 19 flight of a Dragon capsule ferrying supplies to the International Space Station.
Because this mission is lifting a heavy satellite to a high orbit — more than 22,000 miles over the equator — SpaceX will not try to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket “due to mission requirements,” according to the company’s mission overview.
Owned by Englewood, Colo.-based EchoStar Corp., the EchoStar 23 satellite will provide direct-to-home broadcast television services to Brazil from an orbital position at 45 degrees West longitude.
SpaceX’s launch was the first of perhaps three from Cape Canaveral in a week, featuring each of the rockets that launch regularly from the Space Coast.
United Launch Alliance is targeting liftoffs no earlier than Friday of a Delta IV rocket and military communications satellite, and no earlier than March 21 of an Atlas V rocket and Cygnus cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station.
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