SpaceX launches satellite, and rocket survives

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, sending the GovSat-1 satellite to space. (SpaceX via YouTube)

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket sent a telecommunications satellite into orbit today for Luxembourg’s government and the SES satellite venture, setting the stage for next week’s maiden launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.

The GovSat-1 spacecraft is the first component in a NATO satellite constellationthat’s designed to provide secure communications for tactical operations, maritime missions or over areas affected by humanitarian crises. It was built by Orbital ATK, with anti-jamming and encryption systems, and is meant exclusively for governmental and institutional security applications.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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