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Dec 04, 2013 12:16 PM EST

SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Launch A Success


SpaceX's launch of its first commercial satellite into orbit was successful on Tuesday after previous missions failed because of technical issues, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The SES-8 satellite, which traveled further than any of the commercial space company's previous missions, isn't a novelty item; it will function as a telecommunication hub for east Asian companies.

An upgraded version of the Falcon 9 Rocket (currently on sale for $56.7 million) propelled the satellite into space on Tuesday just before 6:00 p.m. EST. It was first launched in September (but that rocket didn't travel as far). Other test missions used a smaller rocket, including three trips to the International Space Station. SpaceX has also fulfilled several unmanned missions of a 12 mission, $1.6 billion contract with NASA to restock the national space station's orbital laboratory, according to the LA Times.

Tuesday's success vindicated a large portion of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's goal when he first founded the company in 2002. Musk believed he could send satellites into space at a much cheaper rate than NASA. Now that he's finally sent a large, viable satellite (7,000 pounds) used to service Asian companies, it should mean more missions and more business for his company, according to the LA Times. His company could take over contracts with both commercial companies and the military typically held by national space agencies. One market SpaceX is targeting is the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, which launces security satellites for military operations and is currently monopolized by Lockheed Martin, according to the LA Times.

Before SpaceX can expand business, it must have three successful rocket launches. September was the first, Tuesday's was the second, and the third trip remains to be scheduled.

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