The Falcon 9 rocket’s eighth flight of 2016 took off from Cape Canaveral early Sunday with the Japanese JCSAT 16 communications satellite, setting a new mark for the most launches made by SpaceX in a single year.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket blasted off at 1:26 a.m. EDT (0526 GMT) Sunday from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad. Thirty-two minutes later, the Falcon 9’s second stage released the JCSAT 16 video and data relay satellite into an on-target orbit.
It marked the completion of the 28th Falcon 9 rocket flight since SpaceX debuted the first version of the launcher in June 2010, and its eighth launch of 2016. At least nine more Falcon 9 missions are on SpaceX’s manifest before the end of the year.
The photos below show the Falcon 9’s climb away from Complex 40 and the rocket clearing the launch pad’s four lightning towers a few seconds later.
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