The private SpaceX venture has successfully launched its first major communications satellite into orbit atop an upgraded version of its Falcon 9 booster.
The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Tuesday evening carrying the 7,000-pound SES-8 satellite, which was inserted into geostationary orbit about 30 minutes later. Among other things, the satellite is aimed increasing bandwidth capacity in Asia.
Tuesday’s successful launch came after two previous aborted launches due to technical glitches. The first try came on Nov. 25 and the second on Thanksgiving Day.
“The entry of SpaceX into the commercial market is a game-changer,” SES chief technology officer Martin Halliwell told reporters in Nov. 24 teleconference before SpaceX’s first launch attempt., according to Space.com. “It’s going to really shake the industry to its roots.”
SpaceX, founded by former PayPal CEO Elon Musk, has a 12 cargo mission contract to resupply the international space station, with two successful missions already accomplished.