SpaceX schedules next launch Friday

9:59 AM, Dec 30, 2013   |    comments
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Video: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket sits on the launchpad

 


 


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (USA TODAY) - SpaceX is targeting its first launch of 2014 for Friday.

A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to blast off with Thaicom Plc's Thaicom 6 television satellite at 5:50 p.m. ET, the opening of a window that extends to 7:17 p.m.

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SpaceX successfully completed a test Saturday that took the vehicle and launch pad systems through a full countdown short of firing the rocket's nine engines, according to SpaceX, a private space transport company founded in 2002 and based in Hawthorne, Calif.

The satellite operator Thaicom is a subsidiary of Shin Corp., the largest telecommunications company in Thailand.

The launch would be SpaceX's second from here of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket and second of a commercial communications satellite to a geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth, after the Dec. 3 launch of SES-8.

Built by Orbital Sciences Corp. and weighing about 7,300 pounds at launch, Thaicom 6 will provide satellite television service to South and Southeast Asia and southern Africa.

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