A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket appears in front of near full moon as it launches from Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Florida on Saturday night. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 8 (UPI) -- SpaceX launched two Intelsat satellites into low-Earth orbit after the mission two days earlier was aborted Thursday night.
The Galaxy 33 and Galaxy 34 communication satellites were launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 7:05 p.m. EDT by SpaceX on behalf of the company Intelsat from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Spectators saw the rocket silhouetted in front of the rising full moon.
The Falcon 9's first stage booster landed several hundred miles away in the Atlantic Ocean on the A Shortfall of Gravitas drone ship about nine minutes later, according to SpaceX. It was the 14th launch and landing for the Falcon 9 booster.
It was a record-setting 14th launch for a Falcon 9 first stage. The mark was set last month when the BlueWalker 3 communications satellite and 34 Starlinks were lifred into space.
Intelsat said in a statement that the Galaxy 33 satellite is expected to begin service in November and "will provide service continuity for distribution to cable headends throughout the United States."
Galaxy 34 will replace the Galaxy 12 satellite and will be in service in "late 2022."
The satellites will be 22,300 miles above the equator and in direct line of sight to North America.
The company said that the satellites are "part of a comprehensive plan" to upgrade the Intelsat Galaxy fleet.
Galaxy 33 and 34 will be used by media outlets, including HBO, the Disney channel, Starz and the Discovery channel.
The launch was bumped back a day Friday "to allow additional time for vehicle checkouts," SpaceX said in a statement. It was originally scheduled for Thursday night but was scrubbed at 30 seconds to liftoff due to a small helium leak.
It was the 44th orbital launch attempt based out of Cape Canaveral this year, all involving a Falcon 9.
It comes after two SpaceX launches on Wednesday: NASA's Crew 5 mission, carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station in the afternoon and a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 52 Starlink satellites in the evening from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The Falcon 9 was scheduled to launch Thursday but it initiated an auto abort. It was was caused by a small helium leak, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk posted on Twitter.
"Tiny helium leak (just barely triggered abort), but we take no risks with customer satellites," he tweeted.
Since June 2010, rockets from the Falcon 9 family have been launched 183 times.
ULA successfully launched a mission carrying European TV satellites on Tuesday.