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SpaceX puts Telstar 18V satellite in orbit

SpaceX launch
The Telstar 18V satellite separates from the Falcon 9 second stage, as seen in a rocketcam view. (SpaceX via YouTube)

SpaceX launched its second heavyweight Telstar telecommunications satellite from Florida tonight, and brought the Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage booster down for a landing on a drone ship hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.

The mission to put the 15,600-pound Telstar 18 Vantage satellite into geostationary transfer orbit for Canadian-based Telesat was nearly a carbon copy of SpaceX’s successful Telstar 19V launch in July, with a bit of added suspense due to the weather.

Concerns about thunderstorms and lightning near the launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station delayed the launch for 77 minutes, but the Falcon 9 rose without a hitch at 12:45 a.m. ET Sept. 10 (9:45 p.m. PT Sept. 9).

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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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