Science

SpaceX Falcon 9 towers over two other rockets in stunning launch photo

A stunning SpaceX launch shot shows heavy traffic at two Florida spaceports last week.

In the center of the April 21 photo, you can see a Falcon 9 rocket launching a batch of SpaceX Starlink Internet satellites from Launch Complex 40 at Space Force Station at Cape Canaveral in Florida. However, this is not the only missile in sight.

On the left is another SpaceX Falcon 9 in final preparation for the launch of the Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station for NASA. This mission successfully launched four astronauts on Wednesday (April 27) from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

And on the right is NASA’s Artemis 1 mission to the Moon, in which the Orion spacecraft is mounted on a Space Launch System mega-rocket. NASA tested the Artemis 1 stack during a “wet clothes rehearsal” at KSC 39B. However, after several hiccups, officials decided to remove the stack from the site on Monday (April 25) to run further diagnostics at the nearby KSC Vehicle Assembly Building.

Real-time updates: SpaceX Crew-4 astronaut mission for NASA

NASA has spent several weeks juggling launch pads to send missions into space. In early April, the Artemis 1 dress rehearsal and launch of the all-private Axiom Space Ax-1 mission to the space station were briefly scheduled for several hours a few hours apart at nearby launch pads at KSC while Crew 4 waited in the wings . for your place. (Ultimately, the Ax-1 took off on April 8 amid ongoing troubleshooting of the Artemis 1.)

While weather or technical issues can lead to delays and conflicts between launches, Kathy Lueders, NASA’s head of human spaceflight, told reporters in March that a busy spaceport is a “good problem” as it shows a healthy range of missions.

The constant rotation of missions contrasts with a decade earlier, when NASA’s space shuttle program was the main customer for KSC facilities. However, after the shuttle was decommissioned in 2011, the launch of the commercial space industry accelerated.

NASA and SpaceX have started launching astronaut missions from KSC again in 2020 after nearly a decade of exclusive use of Russian Soyuz spacecraft that launched from Kazakhstan.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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