SpaceX lands rocket booster for 12th time after late night Florida launch
Falcon 9 launched at 12:42 a.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The late-night rocket activity continues Friday on Florida's coast.
After NASA rolled the Artemis-1, its giant moon rocket, to launchpad 39B at Kennedy Space Center overnight Friday, a SpaceX rocket blasted off down range early Saturday.
SpaceX was targeting 11:24 p.m. ET Friday to launch a Falcon 9 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, but due to poor weather conditions, the company opted to move the launch to 12:42 a.m. ET Saturday.
The weather improved and the Falcon 9 successfully launched with 53 Starlink satellites. The company confirmed later all spacecraft were deployed in orbit.
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SpaceX now has thousands of internet-beaming satellites in low-Earth orbit. The constellation is part of SpaceX's business to provide global internet via spacecraft.
While the launch was standard for SpaceX, the booster landing afterward marked a new milestone for the company that re-uses rocket hardware to drive down launch costs.
About 8 minutes after liftoff, the rocket booster returned to Earth and landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. This booster was previously launched 11 times, including the first SpaceX launch with NASA astronauts.
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"Our launch tonight is an exciting one, the booster flying our 53 Starlink satellites to low earth orbit tonight is flying for a record-breaking 12th time," SpaceX engineer Jessica Anderson said.
SpaceX has been busy in the first three months of the year. Saturday's launch was the 11th launch in the first 11 weeks of 2022.