After several delays, SpaceX finally launched an Italian satellite aboard its Falcon 9 rocket from a station in Florida, United States. The space company founded by billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk originally planned to launch the Earth observation satellite last week, but continued bad weather forced it to postpone the launch several times. A window of opportunity opened on Sunday, but a cruise ship navigated in restricted waters off the coast of Florida and was unable to exit the “no-go zone” in time for launch. The rocket carrying the second-generation Cosmo-SkyMed FM2 (CSG-2) satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 6:11 a.m. EST Monday (4:41 a.m. Tuesday IST).
The CSG is an Italian government system consisting of two satellites that observe the Earth using synthetic aperture radar. The first (CSG-1) was launched in December 2019 aboard a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana and is currently operating in a sun-synchronous polar orbit at an altitude of 620 km. CSG-2 will also operate in the same orbit. The system, with some improvements, should replace the original Cosmo-SkyMed system launched between 2007 and 2010.
SpaceX tweeted a video confirming the deployment of the 2,200kg satellite built by Thales Alenia Space into orbit about 60 minutes after launch.
Everything worked for SpaceX on this launch. The first stage returned for a soft landing at the pre-designated site just under eight minutes after liftoff. This recovery of first-stage boosters is key to SpaceX’s long-term goals of reaching Mars and making space exploration economical and feasible.
Here are some of the other SpaceX launch-related tweets:
Space X had also shared a video to watch the launch of the Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 (CSG-2) satellite.
SpaceX has planned to hit a massive target of 52 launches in 2022. But these delays cast a shadow over its goal and also re-emphasize the need for better planning. If SpaceX achieved that goal, it would mark the most launches the company has ever made in a single year. By 2021, SpaceX had successfully completed 31 launches, a record for the company.
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