SpaceX launch: Elon Musk victory as South Korea’s secret satellite launch breaks records

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Monday evening. The South Korean satellite launch is the company’s 12th mission this year.

The Falcon 9 carried a Anasis-II satellite, which was deployed over the Korean Peninsula to boost South Korea’s military communications.

The satellite, built by Airbus Space and Defence, is designed to “provide secure communications over a wide coverage.”

However, few details about the satellite have been released due to its military connections.

Despite 30 minutes of weather delays, the Falcon 9 launched at 5:30pm eastern time.

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SpaceX have launched their first ever South Korean communications satellite (Image: PA)

The satellite launch marks an incredible record for SpaceX, with it being the shortest turnaround between rocket launches using the same booster for the company.

SpaceX’s B1058, the booster which launched the satellite-carrying Falcon 9, was used just 51 days ago to launch two astronauts to the International Space Station, with the previous record being 62 days between boosters being reused.

That mission, called Demo-2, marked SpaceX’s first manned flight into orbit.

The launch also breaks NASA’s shortest turnaround between space shuttle Atlantis’ flights.

In 1985, NASA’s shortest turnaround between Atlantis missions was 54 days.

John Innsprucker, Falcon 9 SpaceX’s principal integration engineer, said in a live broadcast that the mission had been a complete success.

He added: “It’s been a great day.

“It took a little while getting here, but well worth it, with a totally successful mission today.”

Sae Kyu Nam, President of South Korea’s Agency for Defence Development, also hailed the satellite launch in a pre-recorded statement, and said it is crucial for “maintaining peace in the Korean peninsula”.

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Anticipation for the launch had been building after being postponed twice this past week.

SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk said on July 13 the delays were because SpaceX were being “extra paranoid” about hardware issues on the Falcon 9.

He added on Twitter: “Maximising probability of successful launch is paramount.”

The NASA astronauts launched by Falcon 9 will be returning on August 2 this year.

Americans Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are prepping for their final benchmark tests of SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission, where they will attempt to coordinate a landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

According to NASA, Mr Behnken will make his final spacewalk on July 21 before beginning splashdown preparations with Mr Hurley.

A NASA spokesman said that while mission planners are closely watching weather forecasts, the date for the two astronauts return trip may be delayed.

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