Used Falcon 9 Launches Comms Satellite, Counter at 18 SpaceX Liftoffs in 2018

Falcon 9 taking off from the Cape, November 15, 2018 1 photo
Photo: Spacex via Youtube
Falcon 9, the reusable rocket that has reshaped the meaning of orbital launch, was at it again on Thursday, as it took off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida carrying a variant of the Mitsubishi Electric DS 2000 satellite bus for Qatari operator Es'hailSat.
The launch of the Falcon 9 went without a hitch, as the rocket soared to the sky and delivered its payload to the set geostationary transfer orbit 32 minutes after liftoff.

As the satellite was still climbing, the first stage of the rocket descended back to Earth and was captured in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean by SpaceX’s drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, marking yet another successful return of a rocket to the landing pad.

The rocket deployed to launch the satellite this week has been used before, in July 2018. Back then, it was used to send to orbit the Telstar 19 VANTAGE mission. Then too it landed successfully.

In all, SpaceX launched a total of 18 mission this year, equaling the number of missions it had for the entire 2017. The target for 2018 is a total of 22 launches, but with less than two months left until 2019, it’s unclear whether that will actually happen.

The Falcon family of rockets is slowly growing into the most successful reusable booster in history. Other private companies, like Blue Origin, are working on similar technologies, but to date SpaceX is the only one to have successfully used the concept.

Because rockets can be reused, SpaceX launches are cheaper. The company also manages a rather quick turnaround time, meaning each of the boosters recovered can be quickly used to launch once again.

The tech proven on the Falcon 9 has already been put to the test on the Falcon Heavy, and will soon make its way into the Big Falcon Rocket.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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