SpaceX ride-sharing mission marks first rocket launch of 2023
SpaceX launched 114 ride-sharing satellites into orbit Tuesday in the first launch of 2023 from Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket booster landed back at Cape Canaveral, marking its 15th mission.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Three days into the new year, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket became the first to launch in 2023, kicking off another busy year in spaceflight.
In 2022, SpaceX achieved 61 launches, sending up a rocket nearly every week of the year. The company closed out December with seven additional launches.
According to SpaceX, after 2022, the Falcon 9 holds the world record for most launches of a single vehicle type in a single year.
This year will be even busier for SpaceX and the space industry as a whole.
On Tuesday, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 114 different ride-sharing spacecraft into low-Earth orbit. Liftoff happened on time at 9:56 a.m. EST from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
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About eight minutes after launch, the rocket booster came back to Earth, landing at Landing Zone 1 in Cape Canaveral. This marks the 15th launch and landing of the Falcon 9 rocket booster used for Tuesday's mission.
SpaceX says this was the 161st booster landing for the company overall and the 200th launch.
The mission known as Transporter 6 is the sixth dedicated ride-sharing mission of SpaceX's small satellite launch series. About every four months, SpaceX launches a mission dedicated to customers who can pay as little as $275,000 to get their 110-pound satellite into orbit.
According to SpaceX, Tuesday's Transporter 6 mission included small satellites, shoebox-sized cubesats and even smaller microsats and picosats.
Florida's weather offered a beautiful backdrop for Tuesday's launch. The rocket launched into a mostly clear blue sky above the Space Coast.
The forecast for the launch was about 90% favorable, according to the Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron.