While much of the United States was either sleeping or winding down their Saturday evening, SpaceX was keeping busy.
The aerospace company sent one of its Falcon 9 rockets skyward at around 12:30 a.m. ET in an overnight launch that ferried a hefty Sirius XM satellite, dubbed SXM-8, into Earth’s orbit. It was a smooth 125th mission for the company, also its 18th of 2021.
It was the third successful launch and landing for the Falcon 9 rocket that did most of the (literal) heavy lifting. Unlike NASA rockets of the past, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster is built to be reusable. After ferrying its payload out of Earth’s atmosphere, built-in thrusters flipped the rocket around and reoriented it for the return trip.