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SpaceX launches communications satellite, lunar lander
Posted: Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 5:27 PM ET (2227 GMT)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched a communications satellite and lunar lander Thursday night. The Falcon 9 lifted off on schedule at 8:45 pm EST (0145 GMT Friday) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with its primary payload the Nusantara Satu communications satellite for Indonesian operator Pasifik Satelit Nusantara. That satellite, along with an experimental Air Force Research Lab smallsat called S5, separated from the rocket's upper stage about 45 minutes after liftoff. Beresheet, the lunar lander developed by Israeli organization SpaceIL, separated from the upper stage earlier, and is on track to attempt a lunar landing in April. The Falcon 9's first stage, making its third launch, successfully landed on a droneship despite what SpaceX said were "challenging" conditions. Elon Musk said after the launch that the stage will fly again in April to perform an in-flight abort test for the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft.
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