SpaceX Falcon-9 two-stage rocket topped with Italian Cosmo-Skymed satellite successfully lifted off on Monday at 6:11 pm EST (Tuesday at 4.41 am as per IST.) The launch took place from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
The launch was to initially take place on January 27. But it was postponed due to bad weather.
The booster landing was the 104th that SpaceX has pulled off to date during an orbital mission, SpaceX production manager Jessie Anderson was quoted as saying during the webcast of Monday`s launch.
This particular first stage had flown twice before, as a side booster on SpaceX`s massive Falcon Heavy rocket. The mission marked the first time that a Heavy side booster had been reconfigured and launched alone as a Falcon 9, Anderson said.
Such reuse is key to SpaceX`s long-range goals, as the company aims to reduce the cost of spaceflight to make ambitious exploration feats such as Mars colonisation economically feasible.
SpaceX also aimed to recover the CSG-2 mission`s payload fairing — the protective “nose cone” that surrounds a payload during launch — Monday for reuse down the road, Anderson said.
The Cosmo-SkyMed programme consists of two satellites, which are designed to observe Earth using synthetic aperture radar (SAR), the report said.
CSG is an enhanced follow-on to the original Cosmo-SkyMed system.
The first CSG satellite, CSG-1, launched atop an Arianespace Soyuz rocket from Kourou, French Guiana in December 2019 and is currently operating in a sun-synchronous polar orbit with an altitude of 385 miles (620 km). Wionews