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SpaceX launches telecom satellite, lands rocket on ship at sea

SpaceX delivered Eutelsat's Hotbird 13F spacecraft to orbit early Saturday morning (Oct. 15).

Just hours after returning four astronauts from the International Space Station, SpaceX launched a communications satellite and successfully made a rocket landing on a ship at sea early on Saturday (Oct. 15).

At the very end of the mission's nearly two-hour window, at 1:22 a.m. EDT (0522 GMT), a Falcon 9 rocket carrying Eutelsat's Hotbird 13F satellite launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Just under nine minutes after liftoff, the first stage of the Falcon 9 landed on SpaceX's Just Read the Instructions drone ship, which was positioned in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.

According to a SpaceX mission description, this particular first stage was launched and landed three times (opens in new tab). A package of Starlink internet satellites from the corporation as well as SpaceX's CRS-24 cargo mission to the International Space Station were also launched with the aid of the launcher.

Meanwhile, the upper stage of the Falcon 9 kept launching Hotbird 13F into orbit. About 36 minutes after liftoff, the satellite—which was built by Airbus Defense and Space and will be operated by France's Eutelsat—was successfully deployed.

A geostationary orbit, or 22,300 miles (35,900 kilometers) above Earth, is where Hotbird 13F is headed. According to Eutelsat, the satellite and its twin, Hotbird G, will take the place of three existing Hotbird satellites that currently deliver 1,000 television channels to more than 160 million homes in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East (opens in new tab). A Falcon 9 will also carry Hotbird G into orbit; this might happen as soon as next month.

Less than nine hours had passed since SpaceX's Crew-4 astronaut mission for NASA returned from the space station before Saturday morning's launch. On Friday, October 14 at 4:55 p.m. EDT, Crew-4's Freedom Dragon capsule splashed down off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida (2055 GMT).

Edited by: Satyavrat Singh

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