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Date: 2023-11-15 00:40:37
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SpaceX successfully launched the Transporter 9 mission from California and a pair of O3b mPower communications satellites from Florida over the weekend as the company prepares for another round of Starlink missions and the potential for Starship Integrated Flight Test 2.
The Transporter 9 mission saw 113 payloads deployed into various orbits following the launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. This mission also featured the return of the stubby stage 2 engine nozzle on the Merlin 1D vacuum engine, which saves weight when SpaceX doesn’t need as much performance capabilities as when using the full nozzle.
The Falcon 9 that launched the Transporter 9 mission was Booster 1071 and completed its 12th flight to space and back. Following stage separation, B1071 performed a boostback burn and landed at Landing Zone 4 just 1,400 ft away from the launch pad.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on Landing Zone 4 pic.twitter.com/Vl9WAOoTY4
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 11, 2023
Just over 24 hours later, on the opposite coast, another Falcon 9 took flight to deliver the O3b mPower 5 & 6 communications satellites to Medium Earth orbit. The two satellites were successfully deployed just over 2 hours after lift-off. These were the 3rd pair of mPower satellites launched by a Falcon 9.
For this flight, SpaceX assigned Booster 1076, which, after a successful touchdown on the droneship ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’, completed its 9th flight.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 12, 2023
SpaceX also sent out recovery ships on each coast to recover the payload fairings from the missions. The company has seemingly perfected the refurbishment process on the fairings, regularly reusing flight-proven fairings beyond just Starlink missions.
Next up for the company is another set of back-to-back Starlink launches from Florida and California. As of writing, the first one on the range is from SLC-40 in Florida at 11:00 pm ET, followed shortly after with a launch from SLC-4E at 11:38 pm PT. As always, launch times can change, especially with the Starship IFT 2 tentatively scheduled for the morning of November 17th.SpaceX launches back-to-back Falcon 9 missions over the weekend