SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket, which launched a giant SirusXM radio satellite into orbit on Sunday, December 13th.
According to Space.com’s Amy Thompson, this marks the 25th launch of the year for the company and the seventh voyage into space for the rocket.
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The Falcon 9 took off from the newly renamed Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. About 10 minutes after launch, SpaceX posted a tweet that Thompson said the rocket’s first stage booster had landed on the SpaceX drone ship “Just Read The Instructions” in the Atlantic.
Falcon 9 launches SXM-7 into orbit, completing SpaceX’s 25th launch this year. Pic.twitter.com/ZRur0ewNlv
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 13, 2020
The mission was originally scheduled to start on Friday, December 11, but was scrubbed after additional ground checks, according to Thompson.
The Falcon 9 launched an updated version of the SiriusXM-7 (SXM-7) satellite for Sirius customers.
“SXM-7 is one of two satellites to replace the aging XM-3 and XM-4 aircraft launched in 2005 and 2006, respectively,” said Lee Kanayama & Trevor Sesnic of NASA Spaceflight.
“The two satellites will operate in the S-band spectrum, and both satellites will have a massive, non-retractable antenna reflector. This antenna will allow transmission to radios without the need for a sizeable dish-type antenna on the ground,” NASA said -Space flight authors.
In a year of unprecedented events, 2020 was a victory for space exploration and astronomical sightings.