SpaceX finishes 2020 with a Sonic Boom

Space Coast, FL – SpaceX made their 26th launch of the year today. At 0900 EST (1400 UTC) a Falcon 9 rocket booster lifted off from LC-39A at NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA. The mission NROL-108, was for a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, details unknown.

Falcon 9 at historical LC-39A
Perched on LC-39A Falcon 9 rocket booster B1059.5 prior to lift off | photo: Jon Van Horne

Falcon 9 B1059.5

This Falcon 9 made it’s 5th successful launch and landing. Previously flown on CRS-19, CRS-20, Starlink L8 and SAOCOM 1B. This launch also marked the 31st of the year for the entire Space Coast of Florida.

Falcon 9 B1059.5 lifts off
Lift off of Falcon 9 B1059.5 for NROL-108 | photo: Jon Van Horne

RTLS

The Falcon 9 did a finale with an RTLS (Return To Launch Site), landing at LC-13 or LZ-1 (Landing Zone 1). Residents may have experienced a loud sonic boom through the air. If not, they definitely woke up from sugar plums dancing in their head. This rocket booster also did one other RTLS this year and that was for the SAOCOM 1B launch on August 30th.

Falcon 9 rocket booster returns to launch site and lands
Landing burn being preformed by Falcon 9 B1059.5 by SpaceX | photo: Jon Van Horne

SpaceX plans to launch up to 48 times a year on the Space Coast for 2021. They have some catching up to do for themselves. The Cape Canaveral Space Force Station range is capable of preforming this amount of turnarounds. However, as we all know, delays do happen for rocket launches.

Remote camera at LC-39A crawler way captures Falcon 9 clearing the tower | photo: Crystal Gabriel

Look forward to the 2021 launch year for all space agencies. It’s going to be a ride!

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