The company delivered the THAICOM 6 satellite for Asian operator Thaicom, which will use it to provide cable television services. The Falcon 9 launched at 5:06 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral and met all its mission objectives.
“Today’s successful launch of the THAICOM 6 satellite marks the eighth successful flight in a row for Falcon 9,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX.
The launch was the first for SpaceX in 2014, and the company already has 50 launches scheduled for the year, 60 percent of which are for commercial payloads.
This was the third of three qualification runs required by the FAA to to certify the Falcon 9 under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. Once certified, SpaceX will be cleared to launch national security satellites for the U.S. Air Force.
The recent success of SpaceX seems to have caught the notice of competitor Arianespace. The company, which has a market share close to 50 percent, plans to increase its number of launches this year and said at a press event that it will "adapt its launcher family to meet customer needs and bolstering its competitiveness." This could be in response to the lower-cost launches offered by SpaceX.