This is a first for SpaceX: the company has fired two Falcon 9s in less than 24 hours.
This is unprecedented in the history of SpaceX. For the first time in its history, the American company carried out two rocket launches in less than 24 hours. The company founded by Elon Musk did not fail to make it known on social networks, writing on December 19 a short tweet : “ Two Falcon 9 launches completed in ~15 hours. »
Double launch of Falcon 9 in one day
The first shot was scheduled for December 18, 2021, at 1:40 p.m. (Paris time). It went well. It consisted of deploying a new cluster of Starlink satellites as part of the space-based Internet access service being set up by SpaceX. In all, 52 additional satellites have been deployed in low Earth orbit, a few hundred kilometers above sea level.
The second take off took place on the night of December 19 to 20, 2021, at 4:58 a.m. (Paris time). This time, it is a question of sending a single satellite, on behalf of a Turkish company. The machine, Türksat 5B, is intended for telecoms and must cover several regions of the world: Turkey of course, but also Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Given the close temporal proximity of the two take-offs, it was not possible to go through the same take-off area. Two different launch pads have therefore been occupied by SpaceX: Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, on the West Coast, for the Starlink mission, and Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on the East Coast.
This double takeoff in the space of a day is remarkable. This was of course made possible by two external factors: the existence of two dedicated USA infrastructures, the construction of which largely predates SpaceX, but also and above all their availability. These bases are also subject to a calendar and are not accessible at any time.
The American company will hardly have time to mark the occasion. Her schedule is already catching up with her: another take-off should occur in the next few hours, on December 21 at 11:06 a.m. (Paris time). The mission this time? Send a supply capsule to the International Space Station (ISS), from Cape Canaveral.