Ready for Launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched Israel's Beresheet robotic lunar lander and two satellites into space Feb. 21, 2019 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Then it landed. Check out the mission in pictures in our gallery here. In this view, the rocket prepares for launch, facing the evening sky.
Off it goes!
Launch begins. This mission was the third flight for the first stage of the Falcon 9. It launched and landed twice in 2018.
The rocket's nine powerful Merlin engines on its first stage lift it off the launchpad.
The Israeli lander on the Falcon 9, called Beresheet, will be the first private spacecraft to land on the moon (it was built as a partnership between the nonprofit company SpaceIL and Israel Space Industries). This SpaceX photo shows a long-exposure view of the launch, with the Falcon 9 appearing to streak into orbit.
The rocket is also launched into Earth orbit the Nusantara Satu satellite for the Indonesian company PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara and an experimental U.S. Air Force satellite, S5.
The Falcon 9 arcs over Florida in this view from a tracking camera.
The Falcon 9 first stage has separated and is gearing up to head back to Earth, as the second stage continues upward. Two of the four grid fins used to steer the first stage booster are visible in the left image.
Here, the rocket's second stage has jettisoned the protective fairing that covered its payloads.
The second stage flies on...
...as the rocket's first stage makes a dramatic landing back on Earth, acing SpaceX's most challenging recovery attempt to date. This was the third successful landing for this SpaceX Falcon 9 booster. It landed on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean.
Nusantara Satu away!
The Indonesian communications satellite Nusantara Satu separates from the second stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket as it enters orbit on Feb. 21, 2019. The spacecraft separation marked the end of a successful launch for SpaceX. Read our full story and see launch videos here!