SpaceX launches artist’s satellite memorializing first black astronaut

December 3, 2018

— An artistic tribute to a fallen astronaut is now in Earth orbit, following a history-making launch.

The ENOCH sculpture-satellite, which memorializes Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., the first African American selected to train as an astronaut, flew as part of Spaceflight Industries’ SSO-A SmallSat Express. The mission, which launched Monday (Dec. 3) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with 63 other spacecraft, marked the largest single rideshare from a U.S.-based launch vehicle to date.

The launch, at 10:34 a.m. PST (1834 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, was also the first time that SpaceX reflew one of its reusable Falcon 9 first stages for a third time. The stage, which again landed on a sea-based droneship, previously launched in…

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