SpaceX launches 114 satellites on historic 200th flight

SpaceX is off to a good start. Its first launch in 2023, operated on Tuesday, will have enabled the launch of 114 satellites. It was also the company’s 200th successful flight and the fifteenth reuse of the same booster.

In the history of SpaceX, we remember several dates, starting with first successful test flight by Falcon 9 on June 4, 2010. The launch pad had taken off from Florida and finally reached an orbit 250 km above Earth. On December 15, 2015, after two previous attempts that ended in failure, SpaceX made an impression this time by lands the first stage of his rocket for the first time. Less than a year later, on April 8, 2016, the first stage of the rocket landed, this time on a dedicated platform at sea, which changed everything.

On March 30, 2017, SpaceX made history again by launching into space. a launcher that had previously flown. Three years later, on May 30, 2020, two American astronauts then flew to the ISS aboard the Crew Dragon capsule, which was a first for SpaceX. The crew had docked at the station a little less than 19:00 later.

Since then, the company has chained flights, each time pulverizing its recycling records. The final shot on this Tuesday, January 3 will also be memorable in more ways than one.

200 flights and 161 landings

This Tuesday, January 3, a Falcon 9 once again soared into the blue skies of Cape Canaveral with 114 satellites in orbit. Besides being a particularly large payload (the record still stands at 143 satellites), this launch will also have marked fifteenth flight of this first floor, matching a recycling record set last month. It was too SpaceX’s 200th flight and 161. successful landing of the company’s rocket.

A Falcon takes off on October 6, 2022. Credits: SpaceX

For this mission, called Transporter-6, the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off today at 9:56 a.m. EST (3:56 p.m. Paris time). The aircraft’s 114 payloads included ” cubesats, microsats, picosats and orbital transfer vehicles with spacecraft for later deployment“, according to SpaceX.

Three dozen of these cubesats are toaster-sized Earth observation satellites developed by the San Francisco-based company Planet. Six other craft will be operated by Virginia-based space analytics firm Spire Global. Also included was EOS SAT-1, the first of a constellation of seven satellites that will aim to survey agricultural areas and forests around the world. This data will help customers monitor crop growth and health and implement sustainable practices.

About 2.5 minutes after liftoff, the two stages of the Falcon 9 separated and the first stage began to fall back to Earth to complete its return six minutes later to Cape Canaveral.

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