SpaceX is launching rockets at a record-breaking rate. Since 2023 started the company has launched a rocket at an average of every 4.36 days – which is incredible in the rocket industry. The company aims to launch up to 100 Falcon 9 missions this year; in 2022 it launched a total of 61 missions which is double what it launched in 2021. SpaceX is capable of performing frequent spaceflights because of its advanced rocket technology. Its Falcon 9 first-stage booster is capable of being reused, unlike expendable rockets operated by other aerospace companies.
On Friday, February 17, SpaceX launched two coast-to-coast missions: a Starlink mission lifted off from California at 2:12 p.m. ET (11:12 a.m. PT) and the Inmarsat I-6 Mission lifted off from Florida a few hours after. A previously-flown Falcon 9 soared into the night sky at 10:59 p.m. ET (7:59 p.m. PT) from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carrying the Inmarsat I-6 F2 satellite. This is the 12th launch of the year.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/7Dka2EmZwf— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 18, 2023
Soon after dropping off the Falcon 9 upper-stage to Low Earth Orbit, the first-stage booster performed a propulsive landing on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ autonomous drone ship. Landings are always amazing to watch, see video below. The booster is identified as B1077-3, which previously supported the launch of SpaceX’s Crew-5 NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, and the U.S. Space Force’s GPS III Space Vehicle 06 satellite. The booster was recovered a third time for future use. To date, SpaceX has landed orbital-class rockets 173 times and reused 146 times.
Falcon 9’s first stage booster has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship pic.twitter.com/kniJMZdRUu— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 18, 2023
Inmarsat is a UK-based company that has operated a collection of geostationary communications satellites since the 1970s to provide service for airborne and marine traffic safety globally, except in Antarctica. The Inmarsat I-6 F2 satellite was deployed to orbit approximately half-an-hour after liftoff (see video clip below). The satellite is part of Inmarsat’s ORCHESTRA network that provides communications services, including: internet access, voice telephone calls, maritime broadband, among other services like ensuring aviation safety and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The I-6 satellite is designed to provide coverage over the Atlantic Ocean with support with ground station antennas located in Spain.
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Featured Image Source: SpaceX Live Broadcast
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.