SpaceX launches Falcon 9 carrying Spacecom AMOS-17


SpaceX launched a communications satellite for Israeli satellite operator Spacecom Aug. 6 on an expendable Falcon 9 mission.

Watch a live stream of the launch in the video player above. Severe weather, including torrential rain and lightning striking dangerously close to the pad caused a new T-0 of 7:23 p.m. EDT (23:23 UTC) to be announced just before 5 p.m. The company did not land the Falcon 9 booster for this mission, devoting the fuel that would have been used for a recovery instead to placing the 6,500-kilogram satellite into orbit.

As it is, forecasters predicted a 60 percent chance of afternoon clouds and thunderstorms that could trigger another delay.

AMOS-17 is a replacement launch for the AMOS-6 satellite that was destroyed in a fiery explosion during a Space static test fire in September 2016.

The Falcon 9 first stage booster has already flown twice before, as per SpaceX. Due to the requirements of Tuesday's launch, SpaceX did not attempt to recover the rocket again for use in future missions.

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The Falcon 9 stands some 230 feet (70 meters) in height and has nine Merlin 1D engines in the first of its two stages. "We had a pre-launch contract with Facebook, and we were going together to serve Africa ..."

But AMOS-6 was insured, he said, and "they paid everything to the satisfaction of our borrowers". The launch is SpaceX's tenth for the year. Hopefully, the SpaceX repairs are done, and the weather supports the launch. And that makes these satellites much cheaper to make and operate, though they typically don't last in space for very long.

AMOS-17 was built by Boeing and Spacecom of Israel. AMOS-17 is set to provide telecommunications access to the countries of the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

The 14,330-pound satellite has an expected orbital lifetime of 20 years. For a satellite weighing up to 330 pounds, the base cost is $2.25 million, according to SpaceX. SpaceX says satellites can be added to a ride-share mission as few as six months beforehand, though extra costs will apply.