SpaceX launches rocket from Cape Canaveral

Falcon 9 rocket to carry satellite into space

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - SpaceX launches a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a commercial communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after three tries.

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Tuesday evening, carrying the 7,000-pound satellite. It will be placed in geostationary orbit. That means it will orbit at a fixed point above Earth, in sync with the Earth's rotation.

Technical problems, not weather, halted two attempts last week, on Monday and Thursday.

The 224-foot rocket nearly blasted off on Thanksgiving, but computers shut down nine first-stage engines shortly after they ignited, sensing thrust was building too slowly.

SpaceX replaced the gas generator on the center engine as a precaution.

The launch is the first from Florida and second overall of SpaceX's upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, known as "version 1.1," which includes the more powerful engines.

It is also the first Falcon 9 launch of a commercial satellite, a business in which SpaceX hopes to win significant market share from international competitors.

The SES-8 satellite will be used in conjunction with another communications systems to increase bandwidth capacity in Asia and provide expansion of services such as maritime communications and distance learning programs.

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