SpaceX Falcon 9 wyniósł satelity Galileo

European GPS competition will gain new satellites. They fly with SpaceX

The Galileo system, i.e. European GPS, will receive 4 new satellites in 2024. At the same time, the “reusable” Falcon 9 rocket had its twentieth successful launch.

Falcon 9 took off on Saturday evening local time from the Kennedy Space Center landing pad in Florida. SpaceX announces that this is the 20th launch of this copy. This means that the company has already completed two “twenties”. Previously, this result was achieved by another Falcon 9 rocket, when it carried another portion of Starlink satellites.

Falcon 9 launched European satellites

Falcon 9 took part in Galileo L12 mission. He had satellites on board that would be part of the Galileo constellation – the European equivalent of the GPS system. It's already in orbit 28 satellites, 4 more will be added in 2024. The system requires additional power. SpaceX does not provide specific information, but two satellites probably flew with Falcon.

This is the first time satellites of the European Galileo positioning system have flown on a SpaceX rocket. Previously, they were carried by Russian Soyuz or European Ariane 5. Relations with “space” Russia were severed in February 2022 for political reasons, so the use of Soyuz is currently not possible. Ariane 5 was withdrawn from use in the summer of 2022 and there is no successor yet. This paved the way for a commercial contract with SpaceX. The contract covers two flights in 2024.

The twentieth, or last, flight

It is worth knowing that SpaceX will not break its record with this rocket. This will not be possible. Galileo satellites are placed in medium Earth orbit, i.e. 23,222 kilometers above the planet's surface. This distance is too far for the Falcon 9 to travel and then return and land safely. The rocket doesn't have enough fuel. Her twentieth start was also her last. Previously, this unit launched into orbit, among others, Starlink, GPS, Turksat, Intelsat and Intuitive Machines satellites.

It is possible that we will see further launches of Falcon 9, which flew with Starlinks at the beginning of April. This constellation resides in a low orbit and after covering the planned distance, the rocket had enough fuel for landing. This copy still has space for over 20 flights.

SpaceX has already achieved this 41 orbital missions in 202428 of them carried further Starlink satellites.

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