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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Falcon 9 launches Orbcomm OG2 on fourth attempt

• http://www.gizmag.com, David Szondy
 At 11:15 am EDT, the Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch comes on the heels of three aborted attempts. The first, on May 10, was cancelled due to a helium leak; a second on June 20, was scratched because of a depressurization alarm in the second stage; and a third, on June 21, was called off because of bad weather.

The OG2 mission is the first set of a series of 17 satellites that will replace the first generation of Orbcomm's constellation of communications satellites. Built by the Sierra Nevada Corporation and weighing about 170 kg (375 lb), the satellites are reportedly larger and more efficient than previous Orbcomm spacecraft, and are capable of faster data feeds and can cover higher latitudes on the Earth's surface. In addition, they can be used for tracking Automatic Identification System (AIS)-equipped ships, allowing their owners and emergency services to keep tabs on them.

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