SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 Sunday, the first flight for the company to launch to the south instead of the east.
The SAOCOM 1B mission launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station sent the rocket in a polar orbit, meaning a path that runs between the Earth’s poles. This mission marked SpaceX’s first launch to a polar orbit from the East Coast, and the first polar launch from Florida since 1969.
Polar launches usually take place from California at Vandenberg Air Force Base in an effort to fly over open water instead of populated areas. Advances in SpaceX’s safety systems have made flights from Florida possible, diverting rockets from impact with land in the event of an emergency.
In addition to the SAOCOM 1B satellite, the mission also included two rideshare payloads, Tyvak-0172 and PlanetiQ’s GNOMES-1.
SpaceX also successfully landed the rocket’s first stage booster at Cape Canaveral. The first stage previously launched Dragon to the International Space Station for SpaceX’s 19th and 20th commercial resupply missions, and it also supported launch of SpaceX’s ninth Starlink mission.
Watch the SpaceX broadcast above.