SpaceX has the last launch in 2020 and now has the first launch in 2021 from Cape Canaveral on January 7th at 9:15 PM EST or 2:15 UTC from launch complex 40 successfully deploying the Turkish communication satellite Turksat 5A built by Airbus! This was also the first launch worldwide in 2021.
The launch was delayed for 47 minutes due to a cargo freighter that had entered the hazard area down range and the countdown resumed once the ship was clear of the area. With a launch window of four hours this didn’t pose to much of a problem still launching in the first hour of the SpaceX window.
First stage booster B-1060.4 made a pinpoint landing on the autonomous drone ship Just Read The Instructions JRTI approximately 786 kilometers down range north of the Bahamas. The flight path was almost straight east from Cape Canaveral Florida.
SpaceX had 26 launches in 2020 breaking its corporate record but has a goal of 48 launches for 2021! A lofty goal indeed.
The weather was 70% go for launch only patchy clouds moving in from the north.
MECO main engine cut off occured at 2:34 minutes into launch. SECO second engine cut off occurred 8:02 minutes into flight. Satellite deployment occurred at 33:04 minutes after liftoff!
This satellite by Airbus is expected to be in service for the next 15 years and will be in a GSO orbit directly above Uganda Africa.
Article & Photo Credit: Scott Schilke for spacenews.lu and space-news.es