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Photos: Falcon 9 rocket blasts off with Telstar 18 VANTAGE comsat

SpaceX launched its 16th mission of the year early Monday, lighting up a nighttime sky with a Falcon 9 rocket to deliver a Canadian-owned commercial communications satellite to orbit.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad at 12:45 a.m. EDT (0445 GMT) after a weather delay to allow thunderstorms to pass through the Florida spaceport.

Firing east over the Atlantic Ocean, the Falcon 9’s Merlin main engines throttled up to full power — 1.7 million pounds of thrust — to send the hefty Telstar 18 VANTAGE communications satellite into orbit at the start of a 15-year mission to beam broadband and television signals over the Asia-Pacific region.

Read our full story for details on the mission. Photos of the launch are posted below.

Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now

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