SpaceX successfully launches Euclid Space Telescope for the ESA

Falcon 9 launches Euclid for the European Space Agency (Credit SpaceX)

SpaceX successfully launched the Euclid Space Telescope for the European Space Agency on July 1st, lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Launching at 11:12 a.m. ET (15:12 UTC), the rocket’s nine Merlin 1D engines ignited, sending Falcon 9 and Euclid to space. The Falcon 9 first-stage engines burned for just over two-and-a-half minutes before stage separation and eventual ignition of the single Merlin 1D MVac second-stage engine, which performed a burn for just over five minutes.

Following a nine-minute coast phase, the second stage then reignited for a 90-second engine burn to set up the proper momentum for Euclid to be sent on its way to the Lagrange point 2 transfer orbit. The 2nd stage then coasted for approximately 20 minutes before spacecraft separation.

Euclid will spend the next month traveling through space to its operational orbit, Lagrange point 2. Once arrived, the space telescope will go through system checkouts to ensure all of the science instruments are working nominally. The ESA expects to share the first images later this fall. The space telescope will create a 3D map of the universe, with time being used as the 3rd dimension. The telescope will be capable of seeing as far back as 10 billion light years.

The Falcon 9 launching this mission was Booster 1080, which launched for the 2nd time. B1080 most recently launched the Ax-2 mission, which sent four humans to the International Space Station. Following its two-and-a-half-minute burn, B1080 separated from the second stage and began making its way back down to Earth and eventual landing on the droneship, “A Shortfall of Gravitas” just over eight and a half minutes after launch.

SpaceX had been using flight-proven payload fairings recently, but due to Euclid having sensitive science instruments, SpaceX used brand new fairings, which were successfully recovered by their recovery ship “Doug” and will be refurbished and used on future missions.

Next up for SpaceX is a Starlink launch out of California no earlier than July 7th.

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SpaceX successfully launches Euclid Space Telescope for the ESA
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