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SpaceX launches its largest satellite ever

07 March 2018

It was the 50th Falcon 9 mission for SpaceX.

Two of the rockets returned to a landing pad nearby as the third landed in the sea and was destroyed.

During the Falcon Heavy launch, one of the landing pod drones, Of Course I Still Love You, which was scheduled to land the third booster was reported to have sustained damages during the unsuccessful landing attempt.

The rocket took off promptly at 12:33 AM, and deployed its payload just shy of 33 minutes later. This launch is for the U.S. Air Force and will carry 25 satellites into orbit.

"Once complete, and pending range availability, we will confirm a new targeted launch date".

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The launch will be broadcast live on SpaceX's website but viewers will not be permitted to view the launch from the Kennedy Space Center due to the fact that the launch is expected to happen after hours.

The launch had been previously delayed and ran over a week late. In comparison, the Atlas V rocket took almost eight years and the space shuttle took more than 11 years to achieve the same feat. Four days later, the Dragon cargo ship will launch from Cape Canaveral with the aim to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

Standing down from this weekend's launch attempt to conduct additional testing on the fairing's pressurisation system
By 2016 NASA extended the contract by another six missions from 2019 onwards, and the Falcon 9 is now being prepped for future manned missions to the ISS. The total cost of a Falcon 9 launch is predicted to reach £44 million ($61m).

Hispasat 30W-6, according to SpaceX, is the biggest, heaviest payload they have ever put in orbit. Plus it's going to a high orbit about 22,000 miles (around 35,700 kilometers) above Earth known as geostationary orbit. The 70-meter tall vehicle didn't begin real commercial service until 2013, with its first commercial satellite launch.

By comparison, Hispasat 30W-4 was a much smaller satellite, weighing around 3,300 kilograms, nearly half of Hispasat 30W-6, and carried 28 Ku-band transponders. "It is the culmination of the current growth phase of the companFor Madrid-based Hispasat and its Brazilian subsidiary Hispamar, Latin America is the largest market".

SpaceX launches its largest satellite ever