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SpaceX lands the first Falcon 9 rocket of 2021 as if it were nothing



Elon Musk’s missile company SpaceX kicked off 2021 by sending a new communications satellite to space for the nation of Turkey on Thursday evening.

Turksat 5A is the first of a pair of next-generation transmitters that will put SpaceX into orbit. The Falcon 9 that put it into orbit took off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 6:15 p.m. PT (9:15 p.m. ET).

Turksat says the new satellite will be able to provide expanded communication capabilities to Turkey, as well as parts of Asia, Europe and Africa.

The Falcon 9 booster used for the mission successfully completed its fourth explosive flight and topped it off with its fourth landing, this time on the Just Read The Instructions droneship parked in the Atlantic Ocean.

The company also hoped to restore both halves of the fairing, or nose cone, used in the mission, using ships stationed in the area.

This was a relatively routine mission for SpaceX, but it sets the right tone for a year when the company hopes to bring several dozen more successful launches like this one. The next mission is expected to be Transporter 1

, a launch with rides that will put dozens of smaller satellites in orbit next week.

To follow CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with the latest space travel news this year. You can even add it to your own Google calendar.


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