Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) launched its first Falcon 9 v1.1 mission to geosynchronous transfer orbit Dec. 3, marking the Hawthorne, Calif.-based startup’s entry into the commercial launch market and positioning it to unseat United Launch Alliance (ULA), the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture that launches most NASA, U.S. Air Force and intelligence community missions. Liftoff occurred at 5:43 p.m. local time from SpaceX Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. The ...

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