“SpaceX launched its second rocket in less than 24 hours on Saturday night (Dec. 18), delivering a Turkish communications satellite into orbit before capping off the successful mission with a landing at sea.
A 230-foot-tall (70 meters) Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 40 here at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 10:58 p.m. EST (0358 GMT on Dec. 19), at the beginning of a planned 90-minute window, carrying the Turksat 5B satellite into space.
Approximately nine minutes later, the rocket’s first stage returned to Earth, touching down on the deck of SpaceX’s newest drone ship, “A Shortfall of Gravitas.” The ship is one of three massive floating landing pads that the California-based aerospace company uses to recover its rockets. The other two — named “Of Course I Still Love You” and “Just Read the Instructions” — are carrying out missions of their own, marking the first time ever that all three drone ships are deployed at the same time.
“Falcon 9 has successfully lifted off from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force station carrying a satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit,” SpaceX’s principal integration engineer John Insprucker said during a live webcast of the launch.”