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.

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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