SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off for first breathtaking launch of 2014

SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Monday, sending a private communications satellite into orbit.

Dropping temperatures didn’t hamper a successful launch, according to Brevard County TV station News13.

The Falcon 9 carried the Thaicom 6 satellite, a hybrid Ku- and C-band spacecraft, all serving Southeast Asia and Africa, including Madagascar, according to SpaceX. The mission is the company’s second Falcon 9 launch.

“All of Falcon 9’s structures, engines, and ground systems were designed, manufactured, and tested in the United States by SpaceX,” the company’s website says, adding it has nearly 50 future Falcon 9 missions scheduled for both commercial and government clients.

Science-fiction fans may recognize the Falcon 9, SpaceX explains on its website:

Falcon 9 is named for the Millennium Falcon in the “Star Wars” movies. The number 9 refers to the nine Merlin engines that power Falcon 9’s first stage; one Merlin vacuum engine powers the second stage.

Watch the breathtaking video of the launch here:

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