SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket on third attempt

First two attempts scrubbed due to technical issue

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

A Falcon 9 stands vertical on KSC launch pad 39A Monday, July 3, 2017. The rocket will carry communications satellite Intelsat 35e into space this week.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - After two failed attempts earlier this week, SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center at 7:38 p.m. Wednesday.

Air Force officials gave the go-ahead for liftoff at 7:38 p.m., the beginning of a 58-minute window. 

Intelsat, the company contracting SpaceX to launch its Intelsat 35e communications satellite, confirmed Wednesday that after a full review Falcon 9 was“go” for launch.

A Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to liftoff from historic Launch Complex 39A on Monday, but the launch was scrubbed with nine seconds left in the countdown due to a "violation of abort criteria."

The mission's first attempt Sunday evening was aborted with 10 seconds left in the countdown because computers detected an issue with guidance systems.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the company spent the Fourth of July doing a full review of the rocket and its systems.

“Launch no earlier than 5th/6th,” Musk tweeted Tuesday. “Only one chance to get it right.”

Even with the launch delays for the Intelsat 35e mission, SpaceX has already increased its cadence with two launches back to back last weekend. If the company decides to launch Wednesday, it would mark the third launch in two weeks. Unlike the rockets last week, this one is expendable and will not make a landing at sea or back at Cape Canaveral.

If SpaceX would have held off the launch until Thursday, it would have coincided with Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to KSC.

Pence is visiting the space port to mark the reestablishment of the National Space Council. The vice president will serve as the chair of the council.

Space Center officials have been prepping the area for his arrival all week.

Pence will tour the Vehicle Assembly Building, which is being remodeled to host NASA’s future Mars rocket and the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building , where the Orion spacecraft is being assembled.

Air Force Two will land at Kennedy’s Shuttle Landing Facility runway Thursday afternoon.

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