SpaceX launched a veteran Falcon 9 rocket on its third trip to space Sunday (June 6) to carry a massive radio satellite into orbit for Sirius XM before returning to Earth.
The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket blasted off at 12:26 a.m. EDT (0426 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 here at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, marking the company’s 18th launch of the year. It carried the SXM-8 digital radio satellite into orbit for customer Sirius XM.
Approximately 9 minutes later, the booster’s first stage returned to Earth, landing on one of SpaceX’s two drone ships, called “Just Read The Instructions” stationed out in the Atlantic Ocean. The launch occurred at the start of a nearly 2-hour window.
“We have touchdown of Falcon 9,” said SpaceX’s Jessie Anderson during the launch webcast. “Today marks the 87th overall successful recovery of an orbital class rocket.”