SpaceX successfully launches ridesharing mission off Florida coast

Launch marks 3rd for SpaceX this year

A SpaceX Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Jan. 20, 2021. (Image: SpaceX)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Jan. 20, 2021. (Image: SpaceX) (WKMG 2020)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – After scrubbing its launch attempt Saturday, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket off the Florida coast on Sunday.

Saturday’s scrub came after the company said the launch had unfavorable weather conditions.

The payload consists of satellites from several customers, including DARPA, NASA and more of its own Starlink satellites.

The SpaceX rideshare mission includes government and private customer payloads, as well as a dozen smaller nanosatellites. The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Launch Complex 40. The launch window opened at 10 a.m. Sunday. It was delayed from Friday morning and then Saturday morning.

The mission, known as Transporter-1, also includes a somewhat last-minute addition of 10 Starlink satellites, after receiving Federal Communications Commission approval earlier this month to include those.

After launch, the Falcon 9 will head south toward polar orbit, a rare trajectory sending the rocket down Florida’s coast. Due to the unusual path, SpaceX’s droneship, Of Course I Still Love You, won’t be north of the launch site waiting to catch the rocket booster but due south in the Atlantic Ocean.

Earlier in the week, another Falcon 9 launched 60 Starlink internet-beaming satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The successful delivery to low-Earth orbit was the 17th batch part of SpaceX’s constellation designed to provide global internet to even remote areas of the world. There were nearly 1,000 Starlink satellites already in orbit.

SpaceX plans to continue to grow that constellation this year with launches every other week.

Meanwhile in Texas, SpaceX teams are working toward another test flight of the company’s interplanetary spaceship undergoing development at the Boca Chica site. The most recent flight of Starship wowed online viewers all over the world when the spaceship prototype launched, performed an aerial flip and came down for an explosive landing.

Sunday’s launch marked the third for SpaceX this year.

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