SpaceX Launches 25th Mission of 2020

SpaceX Launches 25th Mission of 2020
SpaceX launched its latest mission Dec. 13 from Cape Canaveral

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched its 25th successful mission of the year on Dec. 13, adding to its record-breaking number of launches for2020 and deploying an audio satellite for digital radio broadcaster Sirius XM Holdings Inc. 

SpaceX set a commercial space flight record in 2018 when it launched 21 successful missions, but the company has far surpassed that total in 2020, averaging  a launch roughly every two weeks. 

The Dec. 13 flight in fact launched only one week after SpaceX completed a resupply mission to the International Space Station on behalf of NASA.  

The spacecraft launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 12:30 p.m. local time and deployed its payload just over 30 minutes after taking off. The company also successfully landed the first-stage rocket booster used in the flight aboard a drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. 

A key to the company’s ability to conduct launches so frequently has been its reliance on rocket parts reused from prior missions. The first stage rocket used in the Dec. 13 flight had been used and recovered on six prior missions, including the first flight of the company’s Crew Dragon capsule. 

Following the mission, SpaceX, Sirius XM and satellite manufacturer Marar Technologies Inc. announced that the satellite had been successfully integrated into a constellation maintained by Sirius and was already receiving and transmitting signals. 

SpaceX may not be finished flying this year. The company is scheduled to launch a classified payload on behalf of the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office on Dec. 17.  

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