In Brief

SpaceX launches seven satellites aboard used Falcon 9 rocket

Payload includes two Nasa satellites that will track Earth’s water cycle

SpaceX successfully launched one of its used Falcon 9 crafts into space yesterday evening carrying a payload of seven satellites. 

Lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 3:48pm EST (7.48pm GMT), the rocket was powered by a first-stage booster that previously launched SpaceX’s secretive Zuma military mission in January.

The seven satellites heading into orbit comprise five Iridium Next communication satellites and two crafts for Nasa and the German Research Centre for Geosciences.

The Iridium Next satellites are part of a campaign by US telecommunications company Iridium to “replace the world’s largest commercial satellite network”, says CNet.

Meanwhile, Nasa and the German research centre’s “Grace” (gravity recovery and climate experiment) satellites will be used to track the water coverage and movement on Earth’s surface, the tech news site reports. 

Although SpaceX recovers the booster stages of many of its rockets, to reduce costs and waste, the company did not attempt to land the rocket involved in yesterday’s mission, Space.com says. 

The Elon Musk-owned aerospace company did try, but failed, to land the nose cone of the rocket, which keeps the satellites in place until they reach orbit. 

The Falcon 9 rocket itself was one of SpaceX’s Block 4 models, which can only be used on two missions before being discontinued, says Ars Technica

The company plans to move operations over to its new Block 5 rocket, which made its maiden flight two weeks ago and can used on at least ten missions before any major parts need replacing.

Recommended

Apple event product launches: iPhone 13, Watch Series 7 and more
iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini come in five aluminium colours
In Focus

Apple event product launches: iPhone 13, Watch Series 7 and more

Which Covid-19 vaccine works best as a booster jab?
A man receives his first Covid-19 dose in Surrey
Fact file

Which Covid-19 vaccine works best as a booster jab?

Vaccine passports: the pros and cons of Covid certification
London nightclub
Pros and cons

Vaccine passports: the pros and cons of Covid certification

What we know about myocarditis and the Covid-19 vaccines
Vaccine centre in Hexham
Fact file

What we know about myocarditis and the Covid-19 vaccines

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021
Wildfire in Greece
In pictures

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives
Kenneth Feinberg at a Congressional hearing
Profile

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives

The Week Footer Banner