reported the launch and mission as follows, “SpaceX hit some notable milestones with the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Saturday. Most notably, the weekend flight marked the first time that the European Commission’s Galileo satellites (similar to the United State’s Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites) launched onboard an American-made rocket and from U.S. soil.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at 8:34 p.m. EDT (0034 UTC). The first stage booster on this mission, tail number B1060 in the SpaceX fleet, launched for a 20th and final time. SpaceX did not plan to recover B1060 “due to the additional performance requirement to deliver the payload to medium Earth orbit.”

“The last time a first stage was expended during a Falcon 9 mission was 146 flights ago in November 2022,” SpaceX said in a social media post following the launch. “On most Falcon 9 missions, enough propellant remains in the first stage after stage separation to enable landing, recovery, and ultimately reuse on future missions.”

SpaceX added that it is in the process of qualifying both its boosters and its payload fairings for up to 40 missions each. They credit the data gathered on Falcon vehicle flights to furthering their development of the significantly larger and entirely reusable Starship rocket and their stated goal of “making life multi-planetary.

The Galileo satellite constellation is part of Europe’s global navigation satellite system (GNSS). It’s similar to others operating around the world, the most prevalent of which is the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS).

Galileo is been in operation since December 2016 and currently consists of 28 satellites, which orbit the Earth at 23,000 km. According to the European Union Agency for Space Programme’s (EUSPA) GNSS Service Centre (GSC), eight out of the 28 are listed as either “not usable” or “not available.”

Please use the following link for a replay of the launch and description of the mission.

(Please know these links will take you to external websites.)
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