SpaceX successfully launches its first polar orbit mission from Florida
SpaceX performed a milestone first polar orbital launch of a satellite from its East Coast launch facility at Cape Canaveral on Sunday. The Falcon 9 mission carried three payloads, including a SAOCOM-1B synthetic aperture radar satellite which was flown on behalf of the Argentine space agency, and two small satellites for clients Tyvack and PlanetiQ.
The launch took place at 7:18 PM EDT from Florida, and used a first stage booster that SpaceX previously flew on two separate commercial resupply missions on behalf of NASA for the international Space Station, as well as one of SpaceX’s recent Starlink internet satellite launches. SpaceX also recovered the booster again with a controlled landing back at their landing site at Cape Canaveral.
This was originally set to be one of two launches that SpaceX was going to perform on Sunday – both from the same launch facility, though at different pads. That would’ve been a historic first, but weather earlier in the day meant that the first mission on the schedule, a Starlink launch, was cancelled and will be rescheduled.
SpaceX would ultimately like to be launching at a cadence that would include multiple launches per day, and this would’ve been a great test of its ability to operationalize that ambition. Considering how aggressive the company has been with its Starlink launches, however, it seems likely we’ll encounter another opportunity for a double launch day at some point in the future.