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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

SpaceX Launches Second Satellite

Last month, SpaceX had its first launch of a commercial satellite, and it now has successfully launched its second rocket.
A Space Exploration Technologies' Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Monday to put a commercial communications spacecraft into orbit for Thai satellite operator Thaicom.

The 224-foot (68-meter) tall rocket burst off its seaside launch pad at 5:06 p.m. EST (2206 GMT), soaring through overcast skies as it headed toward the satellite's drop-off point more than 55,000 miles (88,500 km) above Earth or about one-quarter of the way to the moon.

... Monday's launch was the second in just over a month for Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX.

In December, the California-based firm ... launched its first commercial communications satellite, staking a claim in a global satellite launch industry worth about $6.5 billion a year, a study by the Satellite Industry Association trade group shows.

So far, privately owned SpaceX has sold about 50 commercial launches worth about $40 billion. About 25 percent of the flights are for NASA, which hired SpaceX, along with Orbital Sciences, to fly cargo to the International Space Station....

SpaceX's next flight, slated for late February, will be the third of 12 station resupply missions under its $1.6 billion NASA contract.

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