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Falcon 9 launches SES-8 on third attempt
Posted: Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 7:00 AM ET (1200 GMT)
Falcon 9 launch of SES-8 (SpaceX) After two attempts last week were scrubbed by technical glitches, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched its first commercial geosynchronous orbit satellite on Tuesday evening. The Falcon 9 v1.1 lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 5:41 pm EST (2241 GMT) carrying the SES-8 satellite. The Falcon 9's upper stage released the satellite into a supersynchronous transfer orbit, with an apogee of about 80,000 kilometers, 33 minutes after launch. The launch took place after SpaceX scrubbed two previous attempts, on Monday and Thursday of last week, because of technical issues with the launch vehicle. The launch was also the first SpaceX to carry a satellite to geosychronous transfer orbit; previous Falcon 9 launches carried Dragon spacecraft and other satellites to low Earth orbit. SES-8, built by Orbital Sciences Corporation for European satellite operator SES, weighed 3,138 kilograms at launch and carries 33 Ku-band transponders. SES will operate the spacecraft from 95 degrees east in GEO.
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