Hawthorne's SpaceX wins its second GPS-III military satellite launch bid

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin

High winds scuttled an initial launch attempt Tuesday (March 14), but at 2:00 a.m. EDT (0600 GMT) Thursday, the rocket bolted off its seaside launch pad and soared through clear moonlit skies as it headed into orbit.

As per the company's statement, the satellite will be placed into orbit more that 35,000 kilometers above the Earth and will be used to provide telecommunications services to Brazil.

The launch was SpaceX's second from historic pad 39A at KSC, from which astronauts first launched to the surface of the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969.

These performance factors required the Falcon 9's first-stage booster to use its maximum propellent haul. It took off along with a communications satellite for a delivery to an extremely distant orbit.

But a catastrophic explosion while a rocket was in pre-flight mode on September 1st and caused millions in damages to Launch Pad 40, and put the pad out of action for some 6 months, has forced the FAA to insist on higher insurance cover. The reiteration of Falcon 9 will possibly be the final upgrade for the rocket.

Last June, EchoStar XVIII satellite was launched for DISH Network.

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SpaceX announced the successful launch of its communications satellite in the orbit.

Elon Musk's private spaceflight company received its first Defense Department satellite launch contract a year ago after the Pentagon's longtime partner - Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance - did not bid on the $82.7 million initiative. Elon Musk, a CEO, had already made an announcement back in January through a tweet.

Florida has been launching rockets for decades and, after a five-year lull following the shuttle program's deactivation, it has been the location for increased activity as SpaceX and United Launch Alliance have jumped into what has been called a new space race. SpaceX will also utilize its upcoming Falcon Heavy rocket for larger payloads and farther deliveries. It edged out rival United Launch Alliance to win an Air Force contract, worth $96.5 million, for the launch of a Global Positioning System satellite in February 2019.

The contracts, while not putting a major financial dent into the billion-dollar industry, potentially represent an uptick in the region's space industry.

EchoStar was the second launch for SpaceX.

The satellite was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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