SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully puts HIPASAT into orbit

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SpaceX notched its 50th successful Falcon 9 rocket mission early Tuesday, lifting the heaviest communications satellite the rocket has carried yet from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

But at 12:33 EST, the 229-foot-tall rocket was successfully launched with engines generating 1.7 million pounds of thrust.

This configuration enables Hispasat 30W-6 to contribute to the reduction in the digital divide in North Africa, Latin America or the Iberian Peninsula. The company also reported that the time taken from launch off the Cape to deployment of the satellite was only about 33 minutes.

This marks a big milestone for the Falcon 9 rocket, which began service for SpaceX in 2010 with its first version.

SpaceX's next launch is now slated for March 29, with 10 satellites for mobile communications company Iridium.

Since its first flight, the Falcon 9 has grown more than 50 feet and gained some 600,000 lbs.

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Chief Executive Musk said that the Hispasat satellite is the "largest geostationary satellite we've ever flown".

Weather is 90% go for launch. It will hover above the planet's surface and provide "television, broadband, corporate networks and other telecommunications solutions", SpaceX said in a press kit for the mission. The company has been able to use first-stage and second-stage rocket boosters before, as well as a Dragon capsule that was previously used.

Lewin also looks ahead to SpaceX's next Falcon Heavy launch which will take place in June.

The launch will be broadcast live on SpaceX's website but viewers will not be permitted to view the launch from the Kennedy Space Center due to the fact that the launch is expected to happen after hours.

Thanks to the propulsion system, the Spanish communication satellite will follow an orbit at an altitude of 22,000 miles above the equator.

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