SpaceX Tracking Camera Captures "Smoothest" Falcon 9 Rocket Return Sequence

In this weeks rocket boomerang impersonation news, SpaceX delivered dozens of satellites to polar orbit - and a launchpad camera caught the rockets return on video.

Transporter-2 took off on Thursday (July 1st) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Originally planned to launch on the 26th of June, the mission was delayed a few days to allow for more prelaunch checks. Another 24-hour delay happened on Wednesday (June 30th) when the plane entered the restricted airspace around the launch site.

SpaceX landed its first Falcon 9 rocket stage at Cape Canaveral in less than 10 minutes, only a few miles from where it launched. Tracking cameras at the launchpad captured the rocket's descent back to Earth and its precise landing.

 

 

"That was as smooth as I'd seen it," a SpaceX commentator said during a live webcast of the mission. "We had phenomenal shots [of the rocket] all the way through the landing burn."

Three engine burns slowed the rocket down upon landing. Just before landing, the booster's third and final burn provided a soft descent before landing back on Earth.

This marks the eighth landing of the rocket's first stage booster, B1060, since it launched an upgraded GPS III satellite a year ago for U.S. Space Force. This was SpaceX's 89th first-stage booster recovery and the first landing of the year, given previous launches landed on drone ships.

Transporter-2 - SpaceX's second dedicated small-satellite rideshare mission - launched 85 commercial and government spacecraft into orbit. That included cubesats, microsats, and orbital transfer vehicles. It also launched three of SpaceX's own Starlink internet satellites, for a total of 88 small satellites into polar orbit.

As the various payloads were deployed into orbit, SpaceX shared another video that shows awesome views from space. In the video, all 88 spacecraft were deployed.

 

 

NASA's PACE-1 spacecraft was the first payload deployed roughly 58 minutes into the flight. The final deployment, about 1 hour and 27 minutes after launch, included the three Starlink satellites, which are part of SpaceX's plan to build a mega-constellation to provide low-cost internet to remote locations. 

The Transporter-2 mission launch marked the 20th mission this year for SpaceX and the company's fourth within a month from Florida's Space Coast. 

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