A Falcon 9 rocket climbs away from pad 40 Sunday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Credit: SpaceX
Vaulting away from Cape Canaveral on an unusual southerly trajectory, a Falcon 9 rocket dodged stormy weather and successfully placed an Argentine radar observation satellite into an orbit over Earth’s poles Sunday on SpaceX’s 100th launch.
Scattered thunderstorms across Central Florida threatened to prevent the launch from happening Sunday, but weather criteria were acceptable as the countdown ticked through the final minutes before liftoff of the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket at 7:18:56 p.m. EDT (2318:56 GMT).
SpaceX aimed to launch two Falcon 9 rockets from Cape Canaveral Sunday — a feat unmatched since 1966 — but preparations for the other flight fell behind schedule due to poor weather. That rocket is loaded with 60 Starlink broadband satellites, and is now scheduled to take off at 9:29 a.m. EDT (1329 GMT) Tuesday from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
Nine Merlin engines flashed to life seconds before launch, and clamps opened to allow the 1.2-million-pound rocket and Argentina’s SAOCOM 1B radar remote sensing satellite to climb away from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Instead of launching toward the ...