After dealing with numerous setbacks and last-minute delays, SpaceX's third launch attempt of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral appears to have gone smoothly. The rocket is carrying a commercial SES-8 communications satellite into orbit, an achievement that — if all continues to go well — marks a major milestone for its private space transport ambitions. The Falcon 9's takeoff has been abruptly pushed back more than once this month, but SpaceX earlier this week reassured the public that "all known rocket anomalies have been resolved."
In an update yesterday, the company revealed that its engineers spent an extra day "rechecking" systems ahead of today's attempt. "This launch is obviously very important to the future of SpaceX," Elon Musk said on Sunday.
Update: With a successful launch behind him, Musk has taken to Twitter to show some of the sights the cameras on the rocket are sending back.
View of Earth from upper stage rear view camera at 8,000 miles pic.twitter.com/V4tdMUA48X— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 4, 2013