SpaceX Lifts Off and Returns To Launch Site for Transporter 3

Space Coast, FL – Today, SpaceX launched their third dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Program mission, Transporter-3. This was the tenth launch and landing of this Falcon 9 stage booster (aka. Bob and Doug’s Ride). The launch took place from SLC-40 (Space Launch Complex 40) on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Falcon 9 B1058-10 lifts off from SLC-40 for Transporter 3
Falcon 9 B1058-10 lifts off from SLC-40 for Transporter 3 | photo: Jon Van Horne

Falcon 9 Rocket Booster

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster used previously supported the launch of Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, and five Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Weather was a predicted seventy percent go for launch and it did not disappoint. The clear skies left for an amazing viewing of the entirety of a SpaceX rocket launch.

Falcon 9 first stage separation (seen mid top-left) and 2nd stage (seen mid-right)
Falcon 9 first stage separation (seen mid top-left) and 2nd stage (seen mid-right) | photo: Jon Van Horne

On board this launch were 105 commercial and government spacecraft, including CubeSats, microsats, PocketQubes, and orbital transfer vehicles. All sats were successfully deployed soon after second stage burn. However, we got a second treat today with none other than a SpaceX RTLS. Return To Launch Site. The first stage Falcon 9 rocket booster came back to Earth only 3.70 mi (5.95 km) away from the press site.

Falcon 9 B1058-10 making it's 10th landing within only 20 months
Falcon 9 B1058-10 making it's 10th landing within only 20 months | photo: Jon Van Horne

SpaceX is still shooting for an annual launch cadence of 48 launches in one year. They have a lot on their plate in 2022, with their next launch this Monday, January 17, 2020. See our launch schedule for details. Do you thingk they can do it? Comment below and tell us what you think!

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