UNITED STATES: SpaceX reached a significant milestone in its space exploration endeavours as it successfully launched 72 small satellites into orbit and achieved its 200th booster landing.
The Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a payload of 72 spacecraft, lifted off from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base on June 12, marking another triumph for the pioneering company led by Elon Musk.
The Transporter-8 mission, a rideshare initiative, commenced at 5:35 p.m. EDT (2135 GMT; 2:35 p.m. local California time) with the liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket.
Less than eight minutes later, the rocket’s first stage returned to Earth for a vertical touchdown at Vandenberg, completing its ninth successful launch and landing.
SpaceX proudly announced that this achievement marked the 200th booster landing in the company’s history, a remarkable feat since the tally began in December 2015.
Over the past 7.5 years, SpaceX has transformed rocket landings into regular events, demonstrating its capability to reuse and reduce the cost of space travel.
The Falcon 9’s upper stage continued its mission, carrying the 72 payloads, which included CubeSats, microsats, a re-entry capsule, and orbital transfer vehicles.
SpaceX successfully deployed the rocket as planned, with separation occurring over 24 minutes, one hour after liftoff. Transporter-8 signifies SpaceX’s eighth small-satellite rideshare mission and the third of its kind in 2023.
The launch follows other successful launches, including Transporter-6 on January 3, which deployed 114 satellites, and Transporter-7 on April 15, which lofted 51 spacecraft into orbit.
SpaceX’s first dedicated rideshare mission, Transporter-1, holds the record for launching the most satellites on a single rocket.
In January 2021, it sent an impressive 143 satellites into space, demonstrating the company’s commitment to advancing satellite deployment capabilities.
The successful completion of Transporter-8 adds to SpaceX’s growing list of accomplishments as it continues to revolutionise the space industry.
The company’s dedication to reusability and cost-effective launches has positioned it as a leader in the commercial space sector.