SpaceX completes 125th profitable mission with night time booster touchdown

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Falcon 9 will launch SXM-8 into orbit on SpaceX’s 125th successful mission on Sunday, June 6, 2021. SpaceX

SpaceX launched a Sirius XM satellite into orbit this morning, Sunday June 6th, marking the company’s 125th successful mission. The launch took place with a Falcon 9 rocket and took place from Space Launch Complex 40 on the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The launch was on Saturday, June 5, just after midnight at 12:26 a.m. ET (9:26 a.m. PT).

The mission, named SXM-8, put the satellite into orbit approximately 30 minutes after launch. The satellite is used for Sirius XM’s satellite radio broadcasts and is similar to another Sirius XM satellite launched by SpaceX on its SXM-7 mission last year. This satellite was successfully launched but later failed in orbit.

The booster used by the Falcon 9 rocket for this launch made its third voyage into the atmosphere, having previously flown on two major missions: SpaceX’s Crew-1 and Crew-2. These were the first operational flights of the Crew Dragon capsule, which carried astronauts from Earth to the International Space Station, bringing manned astronaut launches back to American soil for the first time since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

SpaceX catches its boosters and reuses them on multiple missions, and for this launch the company did the same. It also shared this clip on Twitter from the first stage booster landing on the Just Read the Instructions drone ship stationed in the Atlantic:

Falcon 9’s first stage booster landed on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions pic.twitter.com/gwz6GIdhns

– SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 6, 2021

Just as the booster lands, the footage becomes shaky, which is typical if you’ve seen a lot of SpaceX booster landings. The reason the live stream gets choppy or aborted when the booster lands is because of the signals used to send and receive the video data. The camera on board the drone ship transmits the video data to a satellite, which forwards it to the SpaceX broadcast. But if the booster gets close enough to the landing, it will jolt the ship so much that the signal coupling with the satellite is interrupted or lost, and therefore the feed can wobble.

For a different take on a booster landing, check out this footage of a booster landing on solid ground instead of the ocean that was captured last year.

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