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SpaceX puts commercial satellite in orbit as Florida sleeps
[SAN FRANCISCO] Space Exploration Technologies Corp launched a Falcon 9 carrying a customer satellite early Tuesday, its fifth mission in what is expected to be a record year for Elon Musk's company.
The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida around 12.33am local time. The payload, a communications satellite for Spain's Hispasat, will "contribute to the reduction of the digital divide in Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa", the Madrid-based broadcaster of Spanish- and Portuguese-language content said in a statement.
The satellite was successfully deployed about 33 minutes after launch. SpaceX will not attempt to recover the Falcon 9's first stage for reuse due to "unfavourable weather conditions" in the usual recovery area off Florida's Atlantic Coast, SpaceX said ahead of the launch.
The company is targeting roughly 30 total missions this year, including flying its new Falcon Heavy rocket again in June. That's up from 18 missions in 2017.