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SpaceX lands the first Falcon 9 rocket of 2021 like it’s nothing


SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company, started the New Year off by sending a new communications satellite to space for the nation of Turkey.

Turksat 5A is the first of a pair of next-generation broadcasting birds that SpaceX will boost to orbit.  The Falcon 9 elevating it to orbit lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 6:15 p.m. PT (9:15 p.m. ET) Thursday. 

Turksat says that the new satellite will be able to provide expanded communications capabilities to Turkey, as well as parts of Asia, Europa and Africa.

The Falcon 9 booster used for the mission successfully completed its fourth blast-off, flight and topped it all off with its fourth landing, this time on the droneship Just Read The Instructions parked in the Atlantic Ocean.

The company also hoped to recover both halves of the fairing, or nose cone, used in the mission with the help of ships stationed in the area.

This was a relatively routine mission for SpaceX, but sets the right tone for a year that the company hopes will bring a few dozen more successful launches like this. The next mission is expected to be Transporter 1, which is a rideshare launch carrying dozens of smaller satellites to orbit as soon as next week.

Follow CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar!  



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