SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Argentine Satellite

Falcon 9 lifts off with the SAOCOM 1B satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched an Argentine Earth observation satellite on Sunday in a rare polar orbit flight from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The booster lifted off on time at 7:18 p.m. EDT from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and headed south out over the Atlantic Ocean.

The SAOCOM 1B deployed successful 14 minutes after liftoff. The launch was conducted for the Argentine space agency, CONAE.

An hour after launch, the second stage deployed two rideshare payloads, the Tyvak-0172 spacecraft for Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems and the GNOMES-1 satellite for PlanetiQ.

It was the first polar orbit launch from Florida since 1969. The first stage landed back at Cape Canaveral, marking the fourth successful flight for the booster.

Falcon 9’s first stage previously launched Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station for SpaceX’s 19th and 20th commercial resupply missions. The stage also supported the launch of SpaceX’s ninth Starlink satellite broadband mission.

SpaceX originally had two launches scheduled from Florida on Sunday. However, bad weather forced the the postponement of the launch of 60 Starlink satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The launch of the 12th Starlink batch has been rescheduled for Tuesday.