SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 with the satellite on Board


Rain, lightning and thick clouds delayed the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Florida for over an hour, but Elon Musk's rocket company managed to blast off about 45 minutes after midnight Sunday, sending a heavy communications satellite on its way to orbit.

To the sound of applause, the rocket was sacked at 12:45 a.m. (EDT) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

While the video feed from the first stage was cut off just as the booster landed, SpaceX confirmed on Twitter that the "Block 5" safely made it to the drone ship.

The rocket will carry the Telstar 18 Vantage, a communications satellite.

Monday's mission used the new "Block 5" variant of the Falcon 9 rocket and was the fourth to use this updated model, according to reports from Cape Canaveral. The droneship, which was named in honor of sci-fi author Iain Banks, is a remote landing platform for the rocket. It was also the 60th completed Falcon 9 mission. Operating from 138 degrees East, the satellite's coverage reaches across Asia all the way to Hawaii - in both C and Ku-band - enabling direct connectivity between any point in Asia and the Americas.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 propelled early Monday morning, conveying a ground-breaking broadcast communications satellite into space. "The satellite has a 15-year design life". Built by SSL, a Maxar Technologies Company, Telstar 18 VANTAGE is the third HTS in Telesat's global fleet with capacity that delivers a new level of performance and value for satellite broadband requirements on land, at sea and in the air.

Next up for SpaceX is the launch of Argentina's SAOCOM 1A Earth-observation satellite, slated to take place on October 7 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.