GOOOOOAAAAL! SpaceX launched a pair of official FIFA World Cup 2022 match soccer balls to space! On December 12th, Qatar Airways announced it partnered with SpaceX's Starlink division to give the official match balls an out-of-this-world kick on a Falcon 9 rocket. The soccer balls reached a speed of 8,272 kilometers per hour as they traveled inside the rocket’s first-stage booster more than 1,300 kilometers, and reached a max altitude of 123 kilometers above Earth. “A legendary journey for a legendary tournament, from space to kick-off,” said Qatar Airways in a promotion video, linked below.
The Falcon 9 booster returned the soccer balls to Earth with SpaceX’s signature rocket landing on a droneship at sea. Upon returning, the balls were flown by Qatar Airways to the Famad International Airport, where they were handed off to FIFA World Cup officials. “Thanks to FIFA World Cup and Qatar Airways for entrusting SpaceX and the Starlink team to fly two World Cup balls to space and back!” said the company.
The World Cup balls are made by Adidas and are named ‘Al Rihla,’ which means "the journey" or "the excursion" in Arabic. The partnership is promotion for Qatar Airlines and SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service, which is now available to purchase in the country. “For those attending the semifinals or finals, stop by our spot on Lusail Boulevard to demo Starlink for yourself,” said SpaceX via Twitter. “Congratulations to all 32 teams competing in this year’s World Cup!” wrote the company on a new website page dedicated to the sporting event worldcup.starlink.com.
For those attending the semifinals or finals, stop by our spot on Lusail Boulevard to demo Starlink for yourself pic.twitter.com/01J6aQqebC— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 12, 2022
Featured Images Source: SpaceX & Qatar Airlines
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.