Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk is set launch the first SpaceX rocket of 2014 on Friday.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch with Thaicom Plc’s Thaicom 6 television satellite at 5:50 p.m. ET, the opening of a window that extends to 7:17 p.m., USA Today reports.
The satellite operator Thaicom is a subsidiary of Shin Corp., Thailand’s largest telecommunications company.
SpaceX successfully completed a test Saturday that took the vehicle and launch pad systems through a full countdown short of firing the rocket’s nine engines, according to SpaceX, a private space transport company founded in 2002 and based in Hawthorne, Calif.
The launch would be SpaceX’s second from here of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket and second of a commercial communications satellite to a geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth, after the Dec. 3 launch of SES-8.
SpaceX’s Dec. 3 commercial communications satellite launch was seen as a solid success — after already proving it would launch cargo to the International Space Station.
The majority of SpaceX’s 50 contracted launches are for commercial customers, and with these successful launches other satellite operators and launch providers will likely start moving quickly to fill a much-needed void.
Another successful launch will help position SpaceX to compete for national security launches — which are currently flown exclusively by United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V and Delta IV rockets.