Created 20-May-22
Modified 20-May-22
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A Falcon 9 rocket climbed off its firing stand at the Kennedy Space Center at 6:59:40 a.m. EDT (1059:40 GMT) to kick off SpaceX’s 21st mission of the year, and the 14th launch of 2022 dedicated to deploying the Starlink network.

The launch originated from pad 39A at Kennedy, the historic site once used for liftoffs of NASA’s Apollo moon program, and now leased by SpaceX for crew and satellite deployment missions.

Nine Merlin 1D engines ignited to send the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket skyward, crossing through a golden sky a half-hour after sunrise on the Space Coast. Heading northeast, the kerosene-fueled engines throttled up to produce 1.7 million pounds of thrust for the first two-and-a-half minutes of the flight.

Then the booster stage detached to begin a descent toward SpaceX’s drone ship “A Shortfall of Gravitas” in the Atlantic Ocean. Titanium grid fins extended to give the cigar-shaped booster a bit of aerodynamic lift, helping steer the rocket toward its landing point east of Charleston, South Carolina.

A braking burn slowed the 15-story booster stage for a vertical landing. The reusable rocket stage, completing its fifth flight, covered the 400 miles between the launch and landing sites in about eight-and-a-half minutes.

Full story here.