On December 18 at 4:41 a.m., PST, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 52 Starlink satellites to LEO from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. This competed the first eleventh launch and landing of an orbital class rocket booster.
The Falcon 9 first stage booster had previously launched Dragon’s first crew demonstration mission, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM-7 and now eight Starlink missions.
Less than 16 hours later, on Saturday, December 18, the Turksat 5B mission to geostationary transfer orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida was also successfully accomplished by SpaceX.
The Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission previously supported the launch of CRS-22 and Crew-3. Following stage separation, the first stage landed on A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship, which was in the Atlantic Ocean. The fairing halves supporting this mission had previously supported the GPS III Space Vehicle 05 mission.
Built by Airbus, Turksat 4B was transferred from France to the U.S. and this new satellite, operated by Turkiye will be the most powerful satellite the nation owns and operates. Broadband data capacity will be increased with areas served include Africa, Asia and Europe.
The satellite that was produced with contributions from Turkey’s domestic industry, will be on=-orbit within 164 days — the Turkish government is scheduled to launch an upgraded and domestically produced satellite — Turksat 6A — in 2023.
All screenshots are courtesy of SpaceX and their video launch simulcasts.