Photos: Falcon 9 poised for first launch of 2021

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is standing more than 20 stories tall on pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, ready for blastoff with the Turksat 5A communications satellite.

The two-stage launcher, with a first stage booster reused from three prior missions, is set for takeoff during a four-hour window opening at 8:28 p.m. EST Thursday (0128 GMT Friday). These images show the Falcon 9 rocket on pad 40 Thursday, hours before the opening of the launch window.

The Falcon 9 rocket is set to fly on the first satellite launch worldwide this year.

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Turksat 5A, built by Airbus, is designed to provide data transmission and TV broadcast services for commercial customers and the Turkish government. The spacecraft is heading for a position in geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator.

Read our mission preview story for details.

Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX
Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

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