SpaceX has launched a communications satellite for EchoStar.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 1:35 a.m. EDT March 16 in a mission originally set for six months earlier. Since then, SpaceX has dealt with operational delays including a prolonged investigation into a September launch-pad explosion from which it emerged with a return-to-flight mission on Jan. 14.
The EchoStar launch encountered its most recent postponement when inclement weather prompted a scrub March 14.
The 5.5-metric ton EchoStar 23 satellite will provide direct-to-home TV broadcast services over Brazil.
Unlike in other recent SpaceX launches, the Falcon 9’s first stage wasn’t returned to Earth for re-use. Officials said it wasn’t feasible to attempt a landing due to the heavy payload and its demand for all of the rocket’s available fuel.
The EchoStar reached its targeted orbit about a half hour post-launch.