After four scrubbed launch attempts, SpaceX finally launched its Falcon 9 rocket Friday night from Cape Canaveral.
The Falcon 9 rocket launched right around dusk, making for a colorful launch against the evening sky.
An attempt at landing the rocket on a barge several hundred miles off the coast, however, failed. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the rocket landed hard on the droneship. He thinks the next flight has a good chance of landing.
The rocket is carrying the SES-9 communications satellite that, once in orbit, is expected to provide television and Internet service for more than 22 million Southeast Asia households.
SpaceX also tried to land the first stage of the rocket on a waiting platform hundreds of miles out in the ocean. Communication with the first stage was launch. We are still waiting to hear if the rocket stuck the landing.
Two scrubs were called last week because of fueling issues, and a wayward tugboat got into the launch restricted area Sunday evening, putting the launch on hold, eventually leading to an abort as the countdown clock struck T-minus 0 seconds.
A fourth launch attempt was scrubbed Tuesday because of upper-level winds.
The Falcon 9 rocket launch over the Pineda Causeway in Brevard County Friday, March 4. (Jerry Hume, Staff)
The launch is the first by SpaceX from Cape Canaveral since Dec. 21, when the company landed the first stage of its rocket on the ground. The SES launch was delayed for several months after a Falcon 9 rocket with NASA cargo on board exploded in June 2015.
The Falcon 9 rocket has been upgraded since the explosion.
SES said it plans to be back out on the Cape this fall to launch two more satellites, SES 10 and SES 11.