SpaceX launch scrubbed for fourth time; next try Sunday

SpaceX launch scrubbed for fourth time; next try Sunday

A Space X Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched in the United States this afternoon, after four successive failed attempts to carry out the company's first national security space mission. The launch had been rescheduled earlier in the week because of the weather.

Because of mission requirements, SpaceX did not attempt to retrieve the reusable Falcon 9's first stage after launch, according to SpaceX.

The launch of the rocket with a $500 million cargo was initially scheduled for December 18 but was later postponed several times due to technical and weather issues.

"You've got SpaceX, Boeing, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin all vying".

The mission was SpaceX's first national security mission.

The Air Force said that the launch was originally scheduled for 2014 but has been hobbled by production delays.

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The satellite is the first of 10 built by Lockheed Martin and has major improvements including a redesigned Nuclear Detonation Detection System and a search-and-rescue payload. This victory is even more special for SpaceX considering that it had dragged the U.S. Air Force to court in 2014, after it awarded the multibillion-dollar contract of 36 rocket launches to United Launch Alliance - a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed.

Notably, the company dropped the lawsuit in 2015 after the Air Force agreed to open up competition.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who is the chairman of the newly reconstituted National Space Council did not attend Sunday's launch, but was there for the initial planned launch on Tuesday.

The GPS III SV01 satellite has a lifespan of 15 years, and it's the first to launch out of 32 satellites that are being created by Lockheed for the Air Force GPS III Program, Chip Eschenfelder, a Lockheed spokesperson, told Reuters in an article.

Air Force spokesman William Russell said: "Once fully operational, this latest generation of Global Positioning System satellites will bring new capabilities to users, including three times greater accuracy and up to eight times the anti-jamming capabilities".

This mission is the final one of 2018 for Elon Musk's SpaceX and the company's 21st launch of the year, which breaks its 2017 record.

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