SpaceX launches two European navigation satellites

The Falcon 9 launched Saturday, May 27th, to deliver both satellites into the necessary orbit.

The 2 European global navigation satellites are now safely in orbit, courtesy of the SpaceX Falcon 9, which launched from Kennedy Space Center at 8:34 p.m. ET.

These were the 12th overall launch of the Galileo constellation and were originally scheduled to launch atop a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, but due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they were then shifted for what would have been a ride with the European Space Agency’s brand new Ariane 6 rocket, but that rocket is facing its own developmental delays leaving essentially only SpaceX with a rocket capable of launching these satellites.

The European Space Agency seemed to go out of its way to mention only the Falcon 9 as the “launcher,” not SpaceX or their Florida launch site. They may have seen it as an embarrassment that their new rocket continues to be delayed and stuck on the ground.

This Falcon 9, Booster 1060, completed its 20th and final flight. Due to the extra performance required to send the satellites to medium Earth orbit, it could not land on a droneship.

B1060 had launched 13 Sarlink missions, Intuitive Machine’s IM-1 lunar lander, a GPS satellite, and numerous payloads on 2 Transporter missions. According to SpaceX, this booster was responsible for sending over 228 metric tons to orbit.

This is the first time in 146 missions that a Falcon 9 has been purposely expended, showcasing how much performance they have been able to get out of it over the years.

SpaceX also announced that it is working towards certifying the Falcon 9 and fairings to fly up to 40 times, continuing to be the world leader in rocket reusability.

Do you think a Falcon 9 will be able to make it to 40 flights or will they start replacing them around 30 flights?

Questions or comments? Shoot me an email at, or Tweet me @RDAnglePhoto.

Richard Angle: Launch journalist, specializing in launch photography. Based on the Space Coast, a short drive from Cape Canaveral and the SpaceX launch pads.
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