SpaceX successfully launched an ambitious rideshare mission Wednesday (June 30) as one of its veteran boosters hoisted 88 small satellites into orbit before landing back on Earth.
The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket lifted off into a cloudy afternoon sky at 3:11 p.m. EST (1511 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station here in Florida, following a 24-hour delay due to a range violation caused by a wayward plane in the restricted airspace around the launch site.
Tracking footage of Falcon 9 landing on LZ-1 pic.twitter.com/uCR2ZuDSG7July 1, 2021
While the number of satellites was less compared to the Transporter-1 mission earlier this year, when the company launched a record 143 small satellites into orbit, the total weight of the Transporter-2 mission was more than the first. “While there were fewer spacecraft onboard compared to Transporter-1, this mission launched more mass to orbit for SpaceX’s customers,” SpaceX said in a statement.
SpaceX, which has made a name for its social media-savvy launch and landing, did not disappoint as the booster returned in a precision choreography of engineering and rocket science, creating a sonic boom overhead.