SpaceX is at it again!
Marking its 100th launch since its inception, its successful launch of the Argentine satellite SAOCOM-1B has set another milestone for Elon Musk’s aerospace company or even to the booming American private firm race to the top of the aerospace travel industry.
The Falcon 9 booster B1059 took off a few minutes after seven in the evening local time from the company’s facilities at Cape Canaveral. After roughly eight minutes since its launch, the craft returned to the designated landing area (Landing Zone 1) safely and most important, successfully. The last one was done six months prior.
Less than five minutes after the spacecraft’s first stage engine cut-off (SECO) phase, it released its companion satellite, the Argentinian Earth observation satellite SAOCOM 1B, of the planned flight plan.
Well, you might say that this is no big deal, like yeah they done it again, but with this mission, the company has attempted to do something that was not done for more than six decades. It is being able to launch to use polar orbits in its launch missions. Most launches targeting polar orbits were conducted on the West Coast in the past – specifically in Alaska and California. Doing so carries more expenses to companies for they need to build separate facilities limited to these areas.
In an article by Eric Ralph on Teslarati, he gave a quick rundown on how much other companies spend in building these specialized facilities to make this type of launch missions possible. For example, he proposed that Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin probably spends up to $1 billion in construction or repurposing of specialized launching pads. For smaller players in the game, he cited Firefly and Relativity, it would be significantly cheaper to do these preparations however this cost would be too high for new entrants in the industry to take on.
Ralph suggested that SpaceX’s recent development in Florida over the weekend could spur other companies to set up shop in the East Coast to conduct their own polar orbit launches. Talk about being the trendsetter!
He reiterated that it might be too early to suppose how things would work out. But with the recent development and SpaceX pushing the boundaries to commercial aerospace travels yet again with Sunday’s feat, Ralph concludes that other private firms might join in the fray in order not to miss out.