WASHINGTON, March 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. space technology company SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket in the wee hours of Tuesday morning local time, carrying a telecommunication satellite to the geostationary transfer orbit.
The rocket lifted off at 00:33 Eastern Standard Time (GMT 0533) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the southern eastern U.S. state of Florida, with a payload "at 6 metric tons and almost the size of a city bus," said Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX.
A successful deployment to a geostationary transfer orbit was confirmed about 33 minutes after the liftoff.
"It [is] the largest geostationary satellite we've ever flown," Musk twittered.
Tuesday's mission is SpaceX's 50th launch and the fifth of the year.
The satellite Hispasat 30W-6, also known as H30W-6, is operated by Hispasat, a Spanish communications operator serving Spain, Portugal and Latin America.
Hispasat 30W-6 serves as a replacement for the Hispasat 30W-4 satellite, providing television, broadband, corporate networks and other telecommunications solutions.
Hispasat 30W-6 is expected to have a useful life of 15 years with 10.5 kilowatts power and a multi-mission payload.
Hispasat 30W-6 will provide Hispasat additional capacity in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Americas, reinforce the distribution of audiovisual content in Latin America and provide connectivity in mobile environments.
Hispasat is a world leader in the distribution and broadcasting of Spanish and Portuguese content, and its satellite fleet is used by important direct-to-home television and high-definition television digital platforms.
SpaceX's next launch is currently slated for March 29, with 10 satellites for mobile communications company Iridium.