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SpaceX planning Falcon 9 rocket launch for Sunday

By Marilyn Malara
SpaceX planning Falcon 9 rocket launch for Sunday
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set to launch again, six months after the Falcon 9 pictured here suffered an anomoly approximately 148 seconds after it launched at 10:21 AM from Complex 40 at at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on June 28, 2015. Riding on top of the Falcon 9 vehicle is the SpaceX Dragon capsule which was carrying approximately 4,000 pounds of provisions to the International Space Station. File photo by Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell/UPI | License Photo

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- SpaceX will launch its newly upgraded Falcon 9 rocket for the first time in six months on Sunday.

CEO Elon Musk confirmed the plans on Twitter late Friday night. The 45th Weather Squadron, part of the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, has scheduled the launch for 8:29 p.m. ET, weather permitting.

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A recent test of the rocket's main engines leave Musk seemingly confident of the scheduled Cape Canaveral launch. "Static fire test looks good," Musk tweeted Friday evening. "Pending data review, will aim to launch Sunday."

The upgraded Falcon 9 is set to launch 11 Orbcomm satellites into orbit. It is possible SpaceX will again attempt to land the first stage of the rocket, designed to be reusable.

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The Falcon 9 failed its last mission to deliver a SpaceX Dragon capsule of supplies to the International Space Station on June 28. The exploded rocket "experienced an anomaly," SpaceX said at the time, "which led to a failure of the mission."

In November, SpaceX was contracted by NASA to lead the company's first manned mission to the International Space Station. The order is the space agency's second as part of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability program since contracting aerospace company Boeing in May. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft is expected to transport astronauts in 2017.

RELATED NASA contracts SpaceX for crew mission to International Space Station

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