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

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket with 10 satellites for to low Earth orbit for Iridium lifts off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Jan. 14 2017. File

In May 2015, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) was certified for EELV launches resulting in two launch service providers that are capable to design, produce, qualify, and deliver a launch capability and provide the mission assurance support required to deliver national security space satellites to orbit.

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.

"Ultimately, the tool is an instructive window into the pricing behind rocket launches, but it's nothing the CFOs of satellite companies don't already know about", wrote Quartz's Tim Fernholz. Because of the weight of the satellite and the requirements of its initial orbit, the rocket did not have enough propellant left over to attempt a landing on an off-shore droneship. This will take place when the satellite orbits the Earth from 22,000 miles above its surface. The company has won the rights to launch a national security satellite in 2019.

The news was first out on the official Twitter handle of SpaceX.

Two minutes and 43 seconds after liftoff, the first stage engines shut down, the stage fell away and the mission continued under the power of a single engine in the Falcon 9's second stage. At 2:35 a.m. EDT, SpaceX tweeted a confirmation about its successful deployment to the GTO.

Eastern from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, during the scheduled backup window. Previously the pad hosted Shuttle launches, and Saturn five launches that sent astronauts to the moon. The launch site has to accommodate other such SpaceX launches in the coming years as a result of a 20-year lease with NASA in 2014. The $96.5 million contract is the second of nine launch contracts the Air Force plans to put up for bid throughout 2017. EchoStar XXIII is a commercial communications satellite for EchoStar Corporation.

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.

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