SpaceX successfully launched the second-generation COSMO-SkyMed 2 satellite for the Italian Space Agency on Monday, January 31.
The launch followed three postponements over the past week, including a Sunday when the countdown was interrupted just 33 seconds before liftoff due to a cruise ship straying into the danger zone under the planned flight path of the rocket.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 6:11 p.m. ET, blasting into the night sky as it carried Italy’s Earth observation satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit.
As usual, the private space company streamed the launch live on YouTube, capturing the early stages of the mission using various cameras.
The footage of the scene split two and a half minutes after launch was especially cool. While SpaceX usually broadcasts this part live via a camera attached to the Falcon 9’s upper stage, this time it captured the separation using a powerful ground camera. You can see the pictures below.
Below are key moments from Monday night’s launch.
The mission marked the third trip to space for the Falcon 9 first stage after two launches in 2019.
—SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 31, 2022
About 150 seconds after launch, a ground camera captured the moment the two rocket sections separated as they traveled at around 3,665 mph (5,900 km/h), 42.7 miles (68 .7 km) above the Earth.
Just four minutes into the mission, the rocket’s fairing dropped to expose the satellite to space for the first time. Ships in the Atlantic had to attempt to catch the two fairing halves in giant nets so they could be reused. We are awaiting confirmation on whether the fairing sections were captured successfully.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket was then captured, making another perfect landing, this one in Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral. Again, new camera angles captured the rocket’s final moments before it touched down about eight minutes after launch.
Watching from terra firma, SpaceX boss Elon Musk took a moment to remind everyone of the Falcon 9 rocket’s remarkable capabilities.
16-stage rocket, traveling several times faster than a bullet, performs backflips and fires engines to return to the launch site
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 31, 2022
Later, SpaceX confirmed the successful deployment of the Italian satellite.
Another mission accomplished!