The rocket carried a satellite destined for an especially high orbit known as a geostationary transfer orbit, on Wednesday. The launch occurred right at the start of SpaceX’s launch window, which was from 4:25 p.m. Eastern and close at 6:46 p.m. Eastern.
Live coverage of the event began 15 minutes before launch on SpaceX’s Youtube channel. The full replay is available below.
This was the second Falcon 9 launch of 2018. Its payload is a GovSat-1 satellite commissioned by the government of Luxembourg. It was sent into space from SpaceX’s launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
GovSat-1 was the sixth time SpaceX used a booster that has already flown to space and returned. This specific rocket was previously launched in May 2017 to propel a U.S. Military satellite into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office.
However, this time the Falcon 9 will not be gracefully returning to Earth. SpaceX decided not to reuse this rocket after this launch, though the company has not elaborated on why. The company recovered the previous five reused boosters, though it’s not clear if any are actually intended for a third launch.
This mission was initially set to launch on Tuesday, but it was scrubbed in order to replace a sensor on the upper stage of the booster.
A SpaceX tweet stated the weather on Wednesday was 90 percent favorable for a successful launch. With no other technical difficulties, the mission launched almost as soon as the time window opened and successfully deployed the satellite to its high orbit.
This comes ahead of the highly anticipated Falcon Heavy maiden voyage, which is now set for February 2018. For now aerospace-enthusiasts have this launch to hold them over before SpaceX’s most powerful rocket takes off.