(ORDO NEWS) — SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket for a record 11th time on Saturday (December 18), sending a new series of Starlink satellites into orbit.
The Falcon 9 rocket launched at 3:41 pm Moscow time from Cosmodrome 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Station in California, carrying 52 Starlink satellites.
About nine minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s first stage returned to Earth and sat on the deck of SpaceX’s “Of course, I still love you,” unmanned spacecraft, marking the company’s 98th successful landing. With a record 11th flight in history, the Falcon 9 is SpaceX’s most advanced rocket to date.
“We just successfully landed the first stage,” said Yum Zhou, a SpaceX engine engineer, during a live broadcast of the launch. “This is our 98th orbital-class rocket landing.”
If all goes according to plan, the company could launch a total of 31 Falcon 9 missions this year, as there are two more launches on the calendar – both from Florida.
The first of these missions will launch the Turksat 5B communications satellite less than 19 hours after the Starlink mission enters orbit – a new company record. Launch is scheduled for 03:58 GMT on Sundays from the pad at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
On Tuesday (December 21), SpaceX plans to launch another Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station for NASA from Agency 39A’s launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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