San Francisco: Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched its second rocket of the year, hauling three payloads including an Indonesian satellite and an Israeli lunar lander.
The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Thursday at 8:45 p.m. local time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. SpaceX also landed the rocket’s first stage on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean minutes after the launch.
While most rocket launches carry one payload, “ride-sharing” and secondary loads are becoming far more common in the industry. Nusantara Satu is Indonesia’s first high-throughput satellite that will improve Internet connectivity in the region, according to a SpaceX press kit. The Israeli craft Beresheet, which competed in the Google Lunar XPrize, will travel to the moon after deployment using its own power.
The third payload is an experimental small spacecraft from Air Force Research Laboratory for a one-year mission.
SpaceX set a company record last year with 21 launches for customers including commercial satellite operators and the US military, and Thursday’s launch is its 70th total.
The more important milestone that’s a focus for this year is SpaceX’s first flight with humans on board. The company is competing with Boeing Co. to be the first to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew program.
SpaceX’s first uncrewed demonstration flight, known as Demo-1, is slated to take place at 2:48 a.m. ET on Saturday, 2 March. NASA has scheduled a mission overview and flight readiness review briefing for Friday, 22 February, at about 6 p.m. ET. -Bloomberg
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.