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SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral marks 300th successful Falcon 9 flight

Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Science & Technology News

ORLANDO, Fla. — SpaceX completed the 11th launch from Florida's Space Coast for the year under clear blue skies on Tuesday afternoon, marking the 300th successful orbital mission for a Falcon 9 rocket.

The workhorse for Elon Musk’s company lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 3:11 p.m. carrying the Merah Putih 2 telecommunications satellite for Telkom Indonesia to a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

It marked the 301st flight of a Falcon 9 rocket since its debut in 2010 with all but one making it to orbit. That 2015 flight was a NASA resupply mission that exploded before reaching orbit, but it has since had 281 successful orbital flights.

The company has also flown its powerhouse Falcon Heavy rocket nine times since its debut in 2018 as well as two successful Falcon 1 rockets before Falcon 9 came on the scene. Named after the Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars,” it features nine of the company’s Merlin engines on the first stage.

This was the 17th launch of the first-stage booster, and SpaceX made a recovery landing downrange on the Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

One of the most flown of SpaceX’s boosters, it previously launched the Crew-3 and Crew-4 human spaceflight missions among others. The record for booster launches so far is 19, but the company recently said it was working to certify its boosters for up to 40 reflights.

 

The landing marks the 275th time SpaceX has managed a successful recovery of either a Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy booster, having nailed 200 attempts in row since it last missed a landing chance in February 2021.

SpaceX has flown all but one of the launches from the Space Coast so far in 2023 with United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur having flown the other.

Elon Musk’s company has also flown six missions from California so far this year, so this flight will make it 16 across its three launch pads on both coasts as part of a year that could see as many as 150 launches.

That doesn’t include test launches from Texas of its in-development Starship and Super Heavy, which is gearing up for its third attempt at a successful suborbital launch as early as next month.


©2024 Orlando Sentinel. Visit at orlandosentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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