On Tuesday night, SpaceX launched a rocket into space for the eleventh time. Unfortunately, unlike its other 10 flights, this one was not successful in bringing it back.
The Falcon 9 rocket blazed into the night sky as it lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 9:57 p.m. ET.
Minutes after lifting off, the Falcon 9’s second stage successfully placed a communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit for the French company Eutelsat.
The Falcon 9’s first-stage booster has previously helped launch the Telstar 18V and Iridium-8 missions, in addition to nine flights that deployed Starlink internet satellites, making it SpaceX’s oldest operating rocket.
While SpaceX often recovers its first-stage Falcon 9 rockets immediately after liftoff, this mission required more power to deliver the 12,000-pound satellite into orbit, and hence there wasn’t enough fuel to return the booster back.
SpaceX is able to provide affordable launch services thanks to the fact that it does not have to construct a new rocket for each trip because it reuses the same part. However, as the trip on Tuesday showed, sometimes it is impossible to bring it home.
There will fly 12 additional Falcon 9 rocket missions in 2022, bringing the total to 52. This implies that in 2022, SpaceX will launch more Falcon 9 flights than ever before, far surpassing their previous best of 31 in 2021.
This month also saw the first launch of SpaceX’s more powerful Falcon Heavy rocket in three years, on a mission for the United States Space Force.
Also, it’s getting ready for the first flight of its next-generation Super Heavy rocket, which, once it takes to the skies, will be the most powerful rocket in history. In the Artemis III mission, set for 2025, NASA hopes to utilize the spaceship component to land the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface.