The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has set a new record by sending the heaviest payload in history into space with the Falcon 9 rocket, reports Space.com.
The new launch took place from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday—at 1:32pm Armenia time. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted 56 Starlink satellites, with a total weight of 17.4 tons, into low Earth orbit.
The first-stage rocket disengaged about 2 minutes and 30 seconds after liftoff and began its descent toward Earth, landing safely on a pad off the coast of Florida 8 minutes and 40 seconds after liftoff.
Immediately after the first-stage rocket was separated, two payload shielding parts separated from the shielding section at the tip of the rocket and fell into the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX has said it plans to recover them for future use.
About 55 minutes after liftoff, SpaceX confirmed that the satellites were successfully launched into orbit. Thus, SpaceX has already sent about 3,800 Starlink satellites into orbit.
Currently, SpaceX's Falcon 9 is the only rocket carrying medium-weight payloads that can also be landed and reused. The company uses it for various missions, such as launching Starlink satellites, sending astronauts into space, sending cargo to the International Space Station, and other tasks.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket has been used eight times.