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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Chad Garland, Los Angeles Times

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off early Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., after its initial launch attempt was scrubbed with less than a minute on the countdown clock.

It was the fourth orbital launch for the Hawthorne, Calif-based rocket company so far this year and the 11th Falcon 9 flight. The commercial space firm said the 2.5-hour delay was related to an issue with the rocket’s first stage.

SpaceX had planned for liftoff at 1:25 a.m. Eastern time Monday, but the computer aborted the countdown with 12 seconds on the clock. Takeoff was at 4 a.m., 11 minutes before the launch window closed.

The launch was streamed online, with Falcon 9 product director John Insprucker giving updates from Hawthorne.

The nine-engine rocket lifted off with more than 1 million pounds of thrust, reaching supersonic speeds in under two minutes and burning a white-hot arc across the sky. It jettisoned its first stage after about three minutes and delivered its payload into orbit about 28 minutes after liftoff.

The Falcon 9 was carrying a commercial broadcast television satellite to space for Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Ltd., or AsiaSat. The satellite was manufactured by Palo Alto’s Space Systems/Loral.

Due to the fuel expenditure required to deliver the satellite to a high orbit, the launch did not include a rocket reusability test. Three previous Falcon 9 flights to low Earth orbit involved attempts to bring the rocket’s first stage engine gently back to Earth for re-use — part of the rocket-maker’s efforts to drive down the cost of commercial space flight.

Tuesday’s launch comes a day after Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced a $15.3 million incentive package to pay for infrastructure development at a site at the southern tip of Texas, where SpaceX plans to build the world’s first commercial spaceport for orbital missions.

The company has said it plans to launch 12 rockets a year from the site east of Brownsville, on Boca Chica Beach near the Gulf of Mexico.

Photo via WikiCommons

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.