SpaceX successfully launches and deploys EchoStar XXIII satellite

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveils the Falcon Heavy rocket at the National Press Club in Washington,DC

Elon Musk's SpaceX-a.k.a.

This was the second SpaceX launch from the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A.

SpaceX has won a $96.5-million contract to launch a Global Positioning System satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

Most of the preparation work will be done at the company's Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters with launch operations expected at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Florida's Space Coast.

This also comes mere days after SpaceX successfully launched a communications Falcon 9 satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral.

The satellite will provide better anti-jamming capabilities and improved accuracy for precision navigation and timing, according to the Air Force. Narrators explain the stages of the EchoStar XXII launch as it happens to make it easier to watch and understand.

If all goes well, SpaceX hopes to launch an SES communications satellite around March 27, the first flight of a "used" Falcon 9 first stage.

An artist's rendition of GPS III in orbit.

More news: Man Who Sent Allegedly "Seizure-Inducing" Tweet to Journalist Arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation

The opening volley of March Launch Madness started brilliantly as showcased by stunning imagery of the inaugural nighttime launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 off historic pad 39A under moonlit skies along the Florida Space Coast on Thursday, March 15.

Image: Launching of EchoStar XXIII satellite. Corrective actions were implemented and SpaceX returned to flight January 14, successfully launching 10 Iridium NEXT satellite telephone relay stations from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

For perspective, while the price tag wasn't the only factor in the defense industry bidding process, the costs of the Atlas V began at $184 million.

These performance factors required the Falcon 9's first-stage booster to use its maximum propellent haul.

That contract essentially ended United Launch Alliance's informal exclusivity on military contracts.

"SpaceX is proud to have been selected to support this important National Security Space Mission". ULA and SpaceX are the only companies certified to bid on national security satellite launches.

Repairs to the nearby Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which was heavily damaged in the September 1 accident, are underway. The next should be awarded this summer, Leon said.

That mishap followed a Falcon 9 rocket's in-flight failure during a June 2015 launch of International Space Station supplies.

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