SpaceX launched Argentina’s SAOCOM 1B radar observation satellite from Cape Canaveral at 7:18 p.m. EDT (2318 GMT) Sunday. A Falcon 9 rocket headed toward the south on a trajectory hugging the Florida East Coast on the first flight into polar orbit from Cape Canaveral since 1969, and the first stage booster returned to the spaceport for an onshore landing minutes after liftoff.
Delays have set up the possibility of up to three rocket launches this weekend from different pads along Florida’s Space Coast, including two SpaceX missions on Sunday that could set a company record for the shortest span between two Falcon 9 rocket launches. But in the world of ever-changing launch schedules, numerous factors such as weather and technical issues could thwart launch plans this weekend.
A team of 18 Argentine engineers is quarantining in Florida this week after arriving from Buenos Aires, observing coronavirus health restrictions before beginning operations at Cape Canaveral next week to ready Argentina’s second radar Earth observation satellite for liftoff as soon as July 25 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.