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Falcon 9 launches DSCOVR
Posted: Thu, Feb 12, 2015, 7:40 AM ET (1240 GMT)
Falcon 9 v1.1 launch of DSCOVR (NASA/KSC) A SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched a space and Earth sciences spacecraft Wednesday evening, but heavy seas scuttled an attempt by the company to recover the rocket's first stage. The Falcon 9 v1.1 lifted off on schedule at 6:03 pm EST (2303 GMT) from Cape Canaveral, carrying the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft. The rocket's upper stage released DSCOVR about 35 minutes after launch after placing it on a trajectory to the Earth-Sun L1 Lagrange point, 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth in the direction of the Sun. DSCOVR will provide early warnings of solar storms from that vantage point, and also return images of the fully illuminated disk of the Earth. DSCOVR had its origins in Triana, a spacecraft primarily intended for Earth imaging that NASA originally developed in the late 1990s at the request of Vice President Al Gore. SpaceX also planned to use the launch to attempt to recover the Falcon 9 first stage on a ship downrange of the launch site, but heavy seas forced SpaceX to move the ship out of position. The company said the stage did "land" on the ocean surface on target, and likely would have made a successful landing if the ship could have remained on station.
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