SpaceX launched a communications satellite and landed a ship’s rocket at sea early Saturday (October 15), just hours after bringing four astronauts home from the International Space Station.
a Falcon 9 A rocket carrying Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13F satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida space force The station is on Saturday at 1:22 a.m. EDT (0522 GMT), at the end of the nearly two-hour mission window.
The first stage of Falcon 9 returned to Earth less than nine minutes after launch, landing aboard a SpaceX drone, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
Related: 8 ways SpaceX has transformed spaceflight
This was the third launch and landing for this very first stage, according to Description of the SpaceX mission (Opens in a new tab). The booster also helped launch the CRS-24 cargo mission from SpaceX to International Space Station December 2021 and one payment to the company starlink Internet satellites.
Meanwhile, the Falcon 9 upper stage continued to carry the Hotbird 13F into orbit. The satellite – built by Airbus Defense and Space and will be operated by France Eutelsat – Posted on schedule about 36 minutes after takeoff.
Hotbird 13F is headed into a geostationary orbit, about 22,300 miles (35,900 km) above Earth. The spacecraft and its twin spacecraft, the Hotbird G, are set to replace three other Hotbird spacecraft, which currently provide 1,000 TV channels to more than 160 million homes in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, According to Eutelsat (Opens in a new tab). Hotbird G will also ride a Falcon 9 into orbit, possibly as early as next month.
Saturday morning’s liftoff came less than nine hours after NASA’s SpaceX’s Crew-4 astronaut mission returned to Earth from the space station. Crew-4’s dragon capsule, called Freedom, spray down Off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, on Friday (October 14) 4:55 pm EST (2055 GMT).
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:15AM EDT on October 15th with news of the successful launch, rocket landing, and satellite deployment.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrials. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
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