- Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, launched a Falcon 9 rocket at 12:33 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
- The launch is the company’s 50th of Falcon 9 since the rocket first flew in June 2010.
- The mission flew a bus-size satellite to an orbit 22,300 miles above Earth.
While much of America was asleep, Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, achieved a major company milestone on Tuesday.
In 2008, SpaceX was flirting with bankruptcy after three successive rocket failures. Now it has launched its workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9, for the 50th time as it moves to dominate the launch industry.
“Falcon 9 flight 50 launches tonight, carrying Hispasat for Spain,” Musk tweeted earlier on Monday. “At 6 metric tons and almost the size of a city bus, it will be the largest geostationary satellite we’ve ever flown.”
SpaceX fired off the rocket at 12:33 ET early Tuesday morning from a launchpad in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
About 33 minutes after launch, the rocket’s upper stage deployed the satellite, officially called Hispasat 30W-6, into an orbit some 22,300 miles above Earth. 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 latest launch adds to recent SpaceX milestones
Recent highlights for SpaceX include the first launch of the company’s behemoth Falcon Heavy, which is the most powerful operational rocket in the world, and the deployment of two experimental satellites – a pioneering test for Musk’s plan to bathe Earth in high-speed, low-cost internet access.
Watch video of the full launch below: