SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched Seattle-based Spaceflight’s first-ever dedicated rideshare mission, a satellite extravaganza aimed at placing 64 spacecraft in low Earth orbit.
Today’s liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California came off at 10:34 a.m. PT, sending the scorch-marked rocket into clear skies. The mission had been delayed several times over the past couple of weeks, due to concerns about upper-level winds and the need for more pre-launch inspections.
This mission delivered a first for SpaceX as well as for Spaceflight: It marked the first time SpaceX sent the same first-stage booster into space and back three times.
The upgraded Block 5 booster had its previous liftoffs in May and August, and today SpaceX recovered the booster yet again. Minutes after launch, it touched down on a drone ship stationed out in the Pacific Ocean, christened “Just Read the Instructions.”