SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches after two liftoff delays

Posted at 11:02 PM, Feb 21, 2018

SAN DIEGO - After two delays, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket finally launched Thursday morning, carrying with it Spain's PAZ satellite.

The rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 6:17 a.m. local time. It is tasked to deliver the radar observation satellite to low-Earth orbit.

About 11 minutes after launch, Falcon 9 deployed the PAZ satellite. SpaceX said it will not attempt to recover Falcon 9's first stage boosters after launch.

The initial launch on Feb. 18 was scrubbed after officials said they "needed additional time to perform final checkouts."

The new launch date was set for Feb. 21, but about 20 minutes before the 6:17 a.m. liftoff time, the launch was delayed because of "strong upper level winds" and moved to Feb. 22.

Last December, SpaceX's launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base lit up Southern California skies and social media. Hundreds in San Diego captured the sight -- and called local authorities -- unaware of the planned launch.

The Falcon 9 launch will be the second this month after SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket on February 6 in Florida, the most powerful rocket in use today. Though, the launch garnered more headlines due to the payload on top.

SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk attached his own Tesla Roadster to the top of the rocket, complete with a dummy driver and David Bowie's 1969 "Space Oddity" playing on the roadster's sound system -- though it's unlikely to be heard in space.

The Telsa is projected to continue soaring past its intended target: Mars.