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SpaceX launches satellite (and catches nose cone)

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from its Florida launch pad. (SpaceX via YouTube)

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched a Boeing-built, Israeli telecommunications satellite called Amos-17 into geosynchronous transfer orbit today, adding to what’s shaping up as a largesse of liftoffs.

The launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida came at 7:23 p.m. ET (4:23 p.m. PT), toward the end of an 88-minute launch opportunity that was marked by weather concerns. This was a makeup launch for Spacecom, the Israeli satellite operator that lost its Amos-6 spacecraft when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad in 2016.

Amos-17 is designed to provide enhanced voice, video and data services to customers in Africa and parts of Europe, the Middle East, India and China.

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Ariane 5 rocket’s 100th launch succeeds

The milestone 100th launch of Europe’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket put two telecommunications satellites into geostationary transfer orbit today. The rocket rose from Arianespace’s launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, at 7:38 p.m. local time (3:38 p.m. PT), after a 45-minute delay. The dual payloads were the Boeing-built Horizons-3e satellite, which will provide telecom coverage for Intelsat and Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT in the Asia-Pacific region; and Azerspace-2/Intelsat-38, built by Maxar/SSL to boost communications coverage in Europe, Asia and Africa for Azercosmos and Intelsat.

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