HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) — Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched its first rocket of the year Thursday evening, sending a Turkish broadcasting satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Turksat 5A satellite was originally scheduled for 5:28 p.m. California time but was pushed back to 6:15 p.m.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 7, 2021
SpaceX will again attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on a barge, named Just Read the Instructions, floating in the Atlantic Ocean for use in future missions.
This will mark the rocket’s third mission. Both halves of the rocket’s fairing — the nose cone that protects the satellite payload as it is carried into space — have also been used in previous missions.
As of midday Thursday, weather in Florida was considered 70% favorable for launch.
The satellite being carried into orbit is the first of two expected to provide broadcast service and improved internet service for Turkey and the Middle East, as well as parts of Africa and Southern Europe, according to news reports our of Turkey.
The second satellite, Turksat 5B, is scheduled for launch later this year, also aboard a SpaceX rocket.
In 2020, SpaceX launched a record 26 Falcon 9 missions.
According to Space.com, the company is looking to make as many as 40 launches in 2021, from both Cape Canaveral and California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)