For its first mission of the year, SpaceX launched the Airbus-built Turksat 5A communications satellite to cover Turkey, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa with data relay and television broadcast services. A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 9:15 p.m. EST Thursday (0215 GMT Friday).
SpaceX hurled a secret cargo into space for the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency Saturday, the 30th rocket launch to fly into Earth orbit from pads on Florida’s Space Coast in 2020. The Falcon 9 flight broke an annual record for missions to reach orbit from the Florida spaceport that stood for 54 years.
SpaceX’s final Falcon 9 launch of the year carried a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency. SpaceX aborted a launch attempt Thursday morning to assess a second stage sensor reading, but the Falcon 9 successfully lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) Saturday. The rocket’s stage landed back at Cape Canaveral eight minutes later.