Falcon 9 Launch Sets SpaceX Records

Company has 2 more missions planned before year ends
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2021 4:05 PM CST
Falcon 9 Launch Sets SpaceX Records
A SpaceX rocket launches from Vandenberg Space Force Base early Saturday in California.   (SpaceX via AP)

SpaceX put another 52 Starlink internet satellites in orbit Saturday, after the successful launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from California. It was the 11th flight for the Falcon 9 booster, a SpaceX record, Space.com reports. Its first stage touched down safely on the company's drone ship about nine minutes after liftoff from Vandenberg Space Force Base, in SpaceX's 98th successful landing. The second stage traveled on into orbit, and launch commentator Youmei Zhou, who was at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, confirmed the satellites had been deployed, per the AP.

The mission was the 29th of 2021 for Falcon 9, also a company record. Two more are planned before the year ends, both from Florida. A communications satellite, Turksat 5B, is scheduled to be launched Saturday night, per Space.com. On Tuesday, another Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to take a Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station on a mission for NASA. Since May 2019, as many as 1,944 Starlink satellites have been launched. (More SpaceX stories.)

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