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Third time’s the charm for SpaceX launch

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket rises from its Florida launch pad, carrying the Intelsat 35e satellite into orbit. (SpaceX via YouTube)

SpaceX finally launched the Intelsat 35e telecommunications satellite today atop a Falcon 9 rocket after two earlier attempts were aborted at T-minus-9 seconds.

Those two attempts, on July 2 and 3, were called off by SpaceX’s computer system when the parameters it had didn’t match up with what it expected. But when the engineers checked, it turned out there was nothing wrong with the rocket.

The computer’s go/no-go parameters were tweaked to be more forgiving, SpaceX launch commentator John Insprucker said today.

This time, the countdown ticked past the 9-second mark and the Falcon 9 rose smoothly from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:38 p.m. ET (4:38 p.m. PT).

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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