SpaceX and NASA have launched a trio of CubeSats into space, including one in the air today (Saturday) for the first time in the company’s nearly five-year history.
Falcon 9, a satellite intended to deliver broadband internet services to remote regions of the world, was launched at 11:34 GMT (21:34 EDT) from the company-owned SLC-40 launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
It was then lifted into the atmosphere by two NASA C-37 cargo aircraft, and then sent into orbit on an Atlas V rocket.
Falco 9’s first stage touched down at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) at around 10:17 GMT (20:17 EDT), where the rocket will be launched into a two-minute-long ascent, the company said.
This is the first flight for Falcon 9 and the first orbital launch for the satellite.
The mission was originally supposed to begin last October but was delayed after SpaceX decided to hold off on the launch, saying it had problems with the rocket’s hydraulic systems and its ability to control the launch vehicle.
Falcom and Nasa are currently working to improve the Falcon 9’s performance, with the company recently sending back data from the first stage after it was grounded for months.NASA’s CubeSat program was launched in 2003 to bring internet service to the US, Europe and Australia.
Its most successful mission, the Space Launch System (SLS) is currently in the development phase, which will be able to carry satellites and crew to the International Space Station (ISS).