SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket on a secretive mission in the early hours of Sunday morning. Liftoff occurred at 12:27 AM EDT (04:27 UTC) from Space Launch Complex 40 of the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, with the rocket’s official mission being the deployment of a single replacement satellite for communications operator Globalstar.
The Globalstar-2 FM15 spacecraft was manufactured by Thales Alenia Space as part of Globalstar’s second-generation constellation of low Earth orbit (LEO) communications satellites. While 24 of its sister craft were deployed between 2010 and 2013, it has remained on Earth until now as a ground spare. Now, it is launching to be on hand to reinforce the network as the existing satellites begin to show their age.