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The launch from Florida's Space Coast promises a lot this year, and it all started on Tuesday morning. SpaceX Falcon 9 blasted off at 9:56 a.m., lifting off from Pad 40 at the Space Force Station at Cape Canaveral, carrying 114 customer payloads into orbit.
Falcon 9 flew southeast along the coast of Florida, over the state and the Bahamas.
Shortly after liftoff, in the first sonic boom launch of the new year, the Falcon 9 first stage launch vehicle returned to Cape Landing Zone 1. The successful landing ended a record 15th mission for the aircraft.
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Tuesday's joint Transporter-6 mission is the sixth in SpaceX's Transporter program. Co-ride missions have payload spreaders to deploy multiple small satellites and deploy them into similar orbits. SpaceX designed the program as a unique way to share costs and make small satellite launch services more affordable for a wider range of customers.
A small number of launchers and satellites, safely hidden inside a protective cone, will launch about an hour and a half after liftoff.
After a record 57 launches from the space coast in 2022, activity isn't expected to slow down anytime soon. If all goes according to plan, 2023 will be another big year for rocket launches and landings from Florida's Space Coast.
Although exact launch times have not been released, two more SpaceX missions are expected next week.
Another Falcon 9 launch from the Space Force Station at Cape Canaveral is scheduled to launch the next set of OneWeb Internet Beam satellites into orbit later this week. Also at the nearby Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy will launch the Space Force's USSF-67 mission around January 10, which includes a classified defense payload.
The mission will make two near-simultaneous first stage landings from the Falcon 9 launcher at Cape Landing Sites 1 and 2.
Follow Florida Today's live coverage of both missions beginning 90 minutes earlier at https://www.floridatoday.com/space/.
For the latest information, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.
Jamie Groh is a space reporter for Florida Today. He can be reached at JGroh@floridatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlteredJamie.
This article originally appeared in Florida Today: SpaceX's first launch in 2023 shows the sonic boom that landed in the mantle.