SpaceX launched an EchoStar communications satellite into orbit on Wednesday, completing a mission for its client on a second try, after the original launch on Tuesday was scrubbed due to weather conditions on the ground. The SpaceX mission put EchoStar’s XXIII satellite into orbit 22,000 miles up, after launching 2 AM ET on Thursday.
The EchoStar XXIII payload was a remarkably heavy satellite compared to many of SpaceX’s cargo passengers for a Falcon 9 rocket, and that means that SpaceX did not attempt to recover the first stage of its rocket for this particular launch, as with its previous two since returning to flight earlier this year following last September’s pre-flight rocket explosion mishap.
SpaceX launched the EchoStar mission from its LC 39A site at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is the second launch at the site since SpaceX began operations there, its first being the ISS resupply mission from last month. EchoStar is the first commercial client SpaceX has serviced at LC 39A, which has a storied history at NASA, having previously been used for the Apollo 11 launch, the first that brought astronauts to the Moon.