SpaceX broke its annual launch record as it deployed the Turkish communications satellite on Saturday night – and there is one more launch to go! The Türksat 5B mission marked the 30th launch of 2021, which is the most annual rocket launches the company has launched to date. In 2020 the company launched only 26 missions. The increase in launches is largely due to SpaceX’s ability to reuse Falcon 9 boosters and the fact that it conducted three crewed missions this year. Before this year ends SpaceX will launch the 31st rocket launch of 2021, the CRS-24 mission which is the 24th NASA Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station (ISS) scheduled for December 22nd.
The Turksat 5B mission was conducted around 15 hours after the company launched the Starlink Group 4-4 Mission. A twice-flown Falcon 9 lit up the night sky on December 18 at 10:58 p.m. EST, propelling the Turksat 5B satellite to Geostationary Transfer Orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Approximately 9-minutes after launching the upper-stage to orbit, the booster identified as B1067-3 completed its third launch by landing on the ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ autonomous droneship situated around 620-kilometers offshore. It marked the 99th landing of an orbital-class rocket booster. The previously-flown booster previously supported SpaceX’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission to the Space Station (CRS-22) and SpaceX’s third operational crewed mission to ISS (Crew-3).
The Turksat 5B communications satellite was deployed a bit over half-an-hour after liftoff. Turksat 5B satellite will operate in Geostationary Transfer Orbit for 15 years, providing broadband coverage to Turkey, the Middle East, Europe and portions of Africa. In January this year, SpaceX launched the Turksat 5A satellite that is designed to operate alongside the 5B satellite.
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.