A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the AsiaSat 8 communications satellite launched early Tuesday morning.
The powerful communications satellite is designed for a fifteen year mission and will provide communications services to China, the Middle East, India and Southern Asia. The initial attempt to launch the rocket this morning at 1:25am EDT was aborted nearly 10 seconds before lift-off.
Luckily mission managers extended the launch window and the satellites' Merlin 1D first-stage engines were ignited at 4:00am EDT. The 224-foot-tall rocket soared above pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. New efforts are being made to recover parts of the rocket after launch.
Chief designer Elon Musk says "rapid reusability" is the key to driving down launch costs.
This summer has seen an unprecedented surge for SpaceX missions, which began in mid July with the successful launch of six Orbcomm data relay satellites.