SpaceX had another successful launch on Thursday night, despite some tough conditions.
Its Falcon 9 launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, where a trio of spacecraft, including a moon lander, came along for the ride.
Lift off took place at 8:45 p.m. ET, at the beginning of the 32-minute launch window.
Bad weather threatened the recovery of the first-stage booster, but after 8-and-a-half minutes following launch, the booster successfully landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s the third time this booster has been launched and landed, and marks SpaceX’s 34th successful landing. The reuse of boosters is part of SpaceX’s plan to make spaceflight cheaper.
Just after 34 minutes, the Israeli moon lander Beresheet, which is owned by a nonprofit called SpaceIL, was deployed to orbit. It’s set to be the smallest spacecraft to ever land on the Moon. Weighing 1,322 pounds (600 kg), it’s also the first spacecraft from an Israeli entity and the first privately-funded spacecraft to reach the lunar surface. Previously, only the U.S., U.S.S.R, and China have landed spacecraft on the moon.
It’ll take the craft seven weeks to reach the moon. Once landed, Beresheet’s mission will be to transmit photo and videos of the surface, as well as to conduct scientific measurements.
Also on board, was Indonesian telecommunications satellite Nusantara Satu, and an experimental spacecraft called S5, created by the Air Force Research Laboratory. They were deployed shortly after, at 44 minutes after launch.
The booster from this mission is scheduled to be redeployed in April.