SpaceX used a shiny new Falcon 9 rocket to successfully loft the latest military satellite to space for the US Space Force on Thursday.
Elon Musk’s rocket company finally launched the third-generation military GPS satellite after a series of earlier delays. It was initially set for blastoff in late September but then got pushed back a few days. It came close to lifting off Oct. 2, but the launch was aborted with just two seconds to go on the countdown clock.
The unexpected issue led to a few other delays, notably of NASA’s Crew-1 mission to send four astronauts to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, out of concern that the issue could crop up on other Merlin engines.
An investigation revealed that a bit of “masking lacquer” had blocked a