A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 8:45 p.m. EST Thursday (0145 GMT Friday) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The commercial launcher, featuring a reused first stage booster flying for the third time, hauled into orbit Indonesia’s Nusantara Satu communications satellite, the Beresheet lunar lander for SpaceIL, and the S5 space surveillance payload for the Air Force Research Laboratory.
SpaceX kicked off its 2019 launch campaign with a mission Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying 10 more upgraded communications satellites into orbit to complete a refresh of Iridium’s voice and data relay network. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket occurred at 7:31 a.m. PST (10:31 a.m. EST; 1531 GMT).
The demands of launching the first in an upgraded line of U.S. Air Force GPS navigation satellites, including a late load of extra fuel for the spacecraft and a military policy of reserving fuel to eliminate space junk, will keep SpaceX from recovering the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket following liftoff Thursday from Cape Canaveral, according to mission managers.
A commercial supply ship owned and operated by SpaceX arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, delivering a pair of NASA experiments to demonstrate satellite refueling techniques and monitor changes in Earth’s forests, along with a special holiday menu of turkey, candied yams, cranberry sauce and shortbread cookies.