CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Aug. 5 (UPI) -- SpaceX took a break from launching resupply missions to the International Space Station in order to put a new commercial satellite into orbit.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, blasting off early Tuesday morning. The rocket carried with it AsiaSat8, a new commercial satellite expected to dramatically boost video and broadband services in Asia and the South Pacific.
Thirty-two minutes into the flight, the Falcon 9 rocket relinquished its satellite companion, and now it's floating 22,300 miles above the equator. It's the first of two AsiaSat satellites SpaceX will launch this month, taking the growing communication company's fleet from four to six. The second will be launched later in August.
"These are growth satellites for us," William Wade, AsiaSat president and CEO, told Florida Today. "They are adding additional capacity in existing, growing markets that will help us to provide additional services to our customers and help that market expand."
Soon, SpaceX's growing satellite-launching business will have a launchpad of its own. The private space company announced this week it would build the world's first commercial launchpad. An $85 million investment from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is expected to bring more than 300 high-tech jobs to Brownsville, a South Texas border town.
SpaceX choose the small Texas town after Governor Rick Perry dipped into the Texas Enterprise Fund to secure Musk's company $15.3 million in incentives.
"Texas has been on the forefront of our nation's space exploration efforts for decades, so it is fitting that SpaceX has chosen our state as they expand the frontiers of commercial space flight," Perry said in a statement earlier this week.