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SpaceX Launches EchoStar 23 Satellite, Says Goodbye to Falcon 9

SpaceX Launches EchoStar 23 Satellite, Says Goodbye to Falcon 9

The almost $97 million SpaceX deal will require the company to provide the launch vehicle for an operation that hopes to send a Global Positioning System satellite into orbit by April 30, 2019. The main goal of this satellite is to provide broadcast services to the country of Brazil as EchoStar is a global provider of video delivery and satellite solutions.

While that launch is still two years away, SpaceX has a lot going on since resuming operations in January, following an over four-month hiatus caused by the explosion of one of its Falcon 9 rockets September 1.

LC39A was the launch site for the Apollo 11 moon mission and for the last space shuttle in 2011. The launch finally took place Thursday early morning at 2:00 AM ET.

That's because SpaceX did not plan for a landing of the first stage booster. A droneship landing would have been too much to handle this time, but future rocket designs that use liquid-cooled propulsion fuel may enable landings on GTO missions. It was the first Falcon 9 to fly sans landing gear in nearly two years. Because of the difficulty in launching this satellite, SpaceX didn't try to recover the first stage. While SpaceX is known for innovation in the field of aerospace with countless launches and subsequent recoveries of their rockets, today's event was just a standard launch.

The company is also working on another upgrade of the Falcon 9 known as Block 5, which will be easier to reuse.

Elon Musk started SpaceX in 2002 with the vision of making space travel cheaper and sustainable. Not long after, SpaceX reported that EchoStar XXIII had been safely deposited in a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

It's the second contract SpaceX has landed with the U.S. Air Force, with the last being in April. The launch will be the third GPS III launch and is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida in February 2019. SpaceX is developing a heavy-lift vehicle that is equal to three Falcon 9's together.

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