Watch live: SpaceX to launch a communications satellite tonight

SpaceX is set to launch a commercial communications satellite overnight after strong winds delayed a previous attempt.

The launch is scheduled for 2 a.m. EDT Thursday from Pad 39A at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The EchoStar 23 satellite is expected to deploy about 34 minutes after the launch.

SpaceX said Tuesday that the weather for the launch attempt was 90% favorable. This will be the Hawthorne company’s third launch of the year.

Unlike past launches, SpaceX will not try to land its first-stage booster. A combination of the satellite’s heavy weight and the high orbit it needs to reach won’t leave enough fuel in the booster’s tanks to bring it back. Instead, the first stage will burn up in the atmosphere after separating from the second stage.

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk has said future heavy payloads will fly on either the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is set to make its first flight this summer, or an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 rocket.

The upgraded Falcon 9 is expected to fly at the end of the year.

Twitter: @smasunaga


9:50 p.m.: Updated to push the launch time from 1:35 a.m. EDT to 2 a.m. EDT.

This article was first published at 10:25 a.m.

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