SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched, carrying 6-ton satellite from Spain

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As that note indicates, any landing attempt this morning would have taken place at sea, with the booster aiming for the deck of a robotic SpaceX "drone ship".

Tuesday's launch was the first launch for SpaceX from Cape Canaveral since the record-breaking Falcon Heavy launch on February 6. The SpaceX launch scheduled for Tuesday was originally scheduled for last weekend but was delayed after issues with the fairing pressurization system. Tonight, the company is tasked with sending up a hefty communications satellite for operator Hispasat, called Hispasat 30W-6.

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The first stage participated in a series of re-entry rocket firings, but the company didn't expect that the booster would survive the impact into the water. Four days later, the Dragon cargo ship will launch from Cape Canaveral with the aim to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. But with SpaceX planning to launch as many as 30 times this year, the lower-cost Falcon 9 may not take long to catch up.

Musk tweeted about the mission earlier, saying the satellite is the largest SpaceX has ever transported, at 6 metric tons and "almost the size of a city bus". The CRS-1 mission was a partial failure because one of the rocket's engines lost power and prevented a secondary satellite payload from reaching orbit.

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Typically, once SpaceX has released a satellite into space, the rocket then lands back on earth so it can be reused. This is also likely to be followed by another Falcon 9 launch in early to mid-April carrying Bangladesh's first communications satellite.

Tuesday's mission is SpaceX's 50th launch and the fifth of the year.

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Hispasat 30W-6 is equipped with 40 Ku-band transponders, as well as 10 in C-band and 6 in Ka-band. The Madrid-based company Hispasat owns it. This launch is for the U.S. Air Force and will carry 25 satellites into orbit.