SpaceX Raises the Curtain to Start the New Launch Year

Space Coast, FL – Last night, at 2115 EST (0215 UTC), SpaceX lifted off their Falcon 9 rocket for the first launch of 2021. The mission name, for last night’s launch was, Turksat-5A. The 4 hour launch window opened at 2028 EST (0128 UTC).

Falcon 9 B1060 at SLC-40 in Florida
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket booster B1060.4 hours prior to launch | photo: Jon Van Horne

The mission was placed on a brief hold prior to lift off due to a “downrange asset”. No further details were provided. The countdown clock was then set to the 2115 EST lift off time. Propellant load, or fueling of the rocket, started at ~2035 EST. No other holds were placed in last nights launch countdown.

Turksat 5A mission lifts off
Falcon 9 B1060.4 lifts off from SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, USA | photo: Crystal Gabriel

The SpaceX Fleet was down range about 400 miles due east from Florida’s eastern coast line. GO Quest (support ship), GO Ms. Chief & GO Ms. Tree (Fairing Catchers) and Fin Falgout (Tug) with Just Read the instructions (Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship) were all ready to do their part.

Night launch photo of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster
Falcon 9 rocket booster lights up the night sky for mission Turksat-5A | photo: Jon Van Horne

After roughly eight and a half minutes, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 B1060.4 made it’s 4th successful landing in the Atlantic Ocean on Just Read the Instructions. Making this SpaceX’s overall 71st successful booster recovery. See mission overview here.

SpaceX plans to almost double their launches this year from last year. They are aiming for 48 launches in 2021. This is just the beginning to what could be the most launches in 1 year, in history.

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