SpaceX launches six second-generation ORBCOMM satellites



CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The SpaceX company launched a rocket packed with communication satellites on Monday.

After months of technical glitches, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket finally launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station around 11:15 Monday morning.

Visitor Mike Harvey was able to see the launch on his fishing trip.

"We saw the smoke and heard the noise and just watched it go," Harvey said.

The company's CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted that all six ORBCOMM satellites were deployed on target, but a portion of a reusable rocket being developed by SpaceX didn't do as well. It lost hull integrity right after splashdown, Musk said.

The goal is to eventually make SpaceX's rockets reusable to increase profitability. Space Florida said SpaceX also plans to develop a purely commercial spaceport.

"Elon Musk and SpaceX have a number of commercial flights on their roster, and they're eager to get a launch site soon," said Dale Ketcham, with Space Florida.

But officials worry that recent approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for a spaceport in Brownsville, Texas will draw future activity like this away from the Space Coast.

"We lost round one to Texas. We don't want to lose future rounds," Ketcham said.

The 374-pound satellites launched Monday will offer two-way data links to help customers track, monitor and control transportation and logistics assets, heavy equipment, oil and gas infrastructure, ships and buoys, and government-owned equipment.

The launch had been delayed repeatedly since May for technical and other reasons.