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One-Way Trip: SpaceX to Launch EchoStar 23 Aboard Falcon 9 Rocket at Kennedy Space Center

Mar 14, 2017 06:46 AM EDT
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SpaceX just launched a satellite into space. What's striking with the mission is that the company reused a Falcon 9 rocket for the latest launch.
(Photo : Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images)

The Falcon 9 rocket supposed to carry EchoStar 23 satellite into space will have to wait after the initial March 14 launch was delayed due to bad weather. The launch was rescheduled to March 16 where the SpaceX rocket is expected launch from NASA's historic launch pad Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

The latest SpaceX launch will transport a commercial communications satellite to the geosynchronous transfer orbit. EchoStar Corporation owns EchoStar XXIII satellite.

This is not a typical Falcon 9 launch by the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket since it will require more effort from the spacecraft. This is mainly due to the heavy mass of the payload at 5,500 kilograms (12,000 lbs), the heaviest cargo to be carried by the Falcon 9. The rocket is required to fly in fully expendable configuration to deliver the satellite, according to a report.

One-Way Trip

There's no return flight. This means there won't be any first stage landing maneuver, a feature of Falcon 9 rockets that can land on solid ground or drone ships at sea. The rocket does not need to save fuel for the trip back and it will be lighter than usual without the landing gear.

This will be the second time SpaceX will launch a spacecraft from the historic site after the company successfully launch a rocket from NASA's Complex 39A historic launch pad at Kennedy Space Center earlier this year.

Complex 39A is where the manned Apollo missions were launched to the moon. This is why the launch pad earned its historical relevance in the space flight industry. After the Apollo mission, the Space Shuttle used the launch pad for its missions. The last Space Shuttle flight was in June 2011. In 2014, NASA announced that SpaceX will lease the launch pad for 20 years for the launches of its Falcon 9 and the more powerful Falcon Heavy rockets.

The next launch will take place on March 16, Thursday at 1:35 a.m. EST, according to Space.com.

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