Spacex successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket, which was carrying the AsiaSat 8 spacecraft at 4:00 a.m. EDT Tuesday. This was the fourth Falcon 9 flight of 2014. The launch was originally scheduled for 1:25 a.m. EDT Tuesday, but an issue with the rocket’s first stage caused a 2.5-hour delay.
The launch plan calls for the rocket to deliver AsiaSat 8 to a highly elliptical “transfer orbit,” but the satellite will eventually make its way to geosynchronous orbit about 22,300 miles above the planet.
This launch did not test reusability.
July soft landing in the Atlantic
The most recent reusability test (in July) during a launch for commercial-satellite firm Orbcomm, was also a success, SpaceX representatives said. SpaceX released a video captured by a camera on the Falcon 9 first stage that shows its measured descent and controlled entry into the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX has said that its first manned mission would be no sooner than mid-2015, on board one of its Dragon spacecraft. That launch may prove to be a turning point for space travel, as reusable rockets allow NASA to stretch its limited budget further than ever before.
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