First polar orbit in decades from Cape Canaveral AFS, by SpaceX

Space Coast, FL – On Sunday, August 30 at 1919 EDT (2319 UTC) SpaceX’s Falcon 9 successfully lifted off carrying the SAOCOM 1B mission. Weather looking unlikely for a launch, they got a break and the GO for launch was called. This mission put both the SAOCOM 1B spacecraft into orbit as well as two rideshare payloads, Tyvak-0172 and PlanetiQ’s GNOMES-1.

Falcon 9 B1059.4 lifts off from SLC-40, on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida | photo: Jon Van Horne

Last Polar Orbit from Cape Canaveral AFS

ESSA-9 was launched on a three-stage Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch occurred at 0247 EDT (0747 UTC) on February 26, 1969. Now, just 51 years later, this mission marks SpaceX’s first launch to a polar orbit from the East Coast, from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The power of 9 Merlin engines launching Falcon 9 B1059.4 into a polar trajectory | photo: Crystal Gabriel

RTLS, or Return To Launch Site

The Falcon 9 booster B1059.4 also landed back to LZ-1 (Landing Zone 1) on this mission. The last time the Space Coast had an RTLS was the CRS-18 mission on July 25, 2019. The sonic booms were heard all around from the Space Coast to Central Florida.

Falcon 9 B1059.4 makes landing on LZ-1 | photo: Jon Van Horne
Landing legs on Falcon 9 B1059.4 being deployed just before landing | photo: Crystal Gabriel

This marks SpaceX’s 100th launch, 101st mission. The discrepancy is due to, that on September 1, 2016, the Falcon 9 launch vehicle suffered an anomaly during propellant loading for the routine static fire test that destroyed the vehicle and its AMOS-6 payload.

Next up, Starlink.

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Jon Van Horne
Jon Van Horne

He began his career in media as a multimedia designer and developer in Montreal, Quebec. He developed a passion for media during his job in Photography and Video at a Montreal media content company. Other passions in media, photography/videography and soon going back to school in engineering.