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SpaceX sends up a Hotbird

October 14 at 1:22 pm E.T. from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

To mark the forty-fifth launch from the Space Coast this year, far surpassing the record breaking thirty-one from last year, SpaceX has launched another Falcon 9 rocket late this evening. Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13F is now headed for a geostationary orbit, roughly 22,300 miles above Earth. The craft and its twin, Hotbird G (launching later this year) will replace three other, older Hotbird satellites which are currently providing over one thousand television channels to more than one-hundred-sixty million homes across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

With clear skies, and no signs of questionable weather near by it looked like things were going smoothly for a lift off at the beginning of the launch window which started at 11:23 pm E.T. but shortly around the time propellant loading was to begin SpaceX announced they were adjusting the launch T-zero to 12:26 am E.T. Then again just before propellant loading was to start again they announced via Twitter that the launch was pushing to the end of the window, so at 1:22 am E.T. we finally saw the nine Merlin 1D engines roar to life and light up the sky like a giant candle making its way towards the heavens.

Launching tonight’s mission was the Falcon 9 Booster 1069, which we saw severely damaged after the CRS-24 mission back in December of 2021. It was uncertain whether we would ever see this booster fly again. That changed recently when it was used for the Starlink 4-23 mission in August of this year. Waiting downrange due East in the Atlantic Ocean was drone ship Just Read the Instructions where B1069 landed just past eight minutes after lift off. While the booster was touching down the rockets second stage continued on towards the spacecrafts desired orbit. The Airbus Defense and Space built satellite was deployed about thirty-six minutes after lift off.

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