SpaceX launches record-setting satellite with block 5 Falcon 9 rocket

Elon Musk's rocket company launched the final iteration of its workhorse rocket carrying the biggest communications satellite ever.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
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Eric Mack

Late-night launch of the second SpaceX block 5 Falcon 9 rocket.

Video capture by Eric Mack/CNET

SpaceX launched just its second "block 5" Falcon 9 rocket in the darkness from Florida early Sunday local time, and it was loaded with the heaviest commercial communications satellite ever built. 

The brand new booster blasted off from Cape Canaveral at 1:50 a.m. ET carrying the Telstar 19 Vantage broadband satellite, a 15,600-pound (7,076 kilogram) beast that will offer connectivity to customers in the Americas. 

This massive spacecraft is an ideal fit for the block 5, which CEO Elon Musk has called the "final version" of the Falcon 9 capable of a bit more lift and ready to reuse up to 10 times without refurbishment. SpaceX launched the first block 5 rocket in May and will launch a third from California next week. The first re-flight of a block 5 Falcon 9 has not yet been announced.

Sunday morning's launch was followed by a successful landing on the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. 

SpaceX has another block 5 Falcon 9 launched planned for Wednesday from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. That mission will send 10 new Iridium communications satellites to orbit.