“The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 7:29 a.m. EDT (1129 GMT), hauling a full stack of 60 Starlink satellites. Approximately 9 minutes later, the booster’s first stage came back to Earth, landing on one of SpaceX’s drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean.
The launch marks SpaceX’s 17th mission so far in 2020, and its 94th Falcon 9 flight to date. The company’s fleet of flight-proven boosters has been busy this year, with the California-based rocket builder reaching a few new milestones, including launching and landing the same first-stage booster six times.
The launch also came amid World Space Week 2020, which is celebrating the impact satellites have on everyday life.
Poor weather conditions at Falcon 9’s ocean recovery site forced SpaceX to stand down from its first attempt to launch this particular Starlink mission on Sept. 17. Weather concerns also thwarted a launch attempt on Sept. 28 and Oct. 5; while ground systems issues prevented the rocket from flying on another attempt on Oct. 1. But the fifth time was the charm today, with Mother Nature finally cooperating for a smooth launch.
“A happy end to Scrub-tober,” SpaceX integration and test engineer Siva Bharadvaj said during live commentary after the Starlink satellites were successfully deployed.
The weather was iffy this morning as a brief rain shower and patch of cumulus clouds rolled in, but the skies cleared as the minutes ticked away. Onlookers cheered as the Falcon leapt off the pad, signaling an end to the series of launch aborts and weather scrubs that have recently plagued the Space Coast.”