Screenshot from a NASA video of a previous SpaceX launch
(Florida Today) - Cape Canaveral's first launch of 2014 is in the books after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered a commercial communications satellite to orbit.
The 224-foot rocket blasted off on-time at 5:06 p.m. EST after an apparently problem-free countdown.
The rocket quickly rumbled into clouds above Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and disappeared from view.
Nearly an hour later SpaceX confirmed the rocket had deployed the Thaicom 6 satellite as planned about 31 minutes after the launch.
Owned by Thaicom Plc, the satellite was bound for an orbit more than 22,000 miles above the equator, where it will provide broadcast services to Southeast Asia and parts of Africa.
The launch was SpaceX's third of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket since last September.
The Hawthorne, Calif., company needs three successful launches for the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program to certify the rocket as eligible to compete for national security missions.
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