- SpaceX launched its first mission for 2021 Thursday from Cape Canaveral
- The Falcon 9 rocket took the Turkish-owned Turksat 5A satellite into orbit
- However, the mission caught the eye of Armenia in October of last year
- Armenia activists protested outside SpaceX's California headquarters
- They claim the device would be used by Turkey to kill them with drones
- The notion stems from a long-standing war between the two nations SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket completed its first mission of 2021 by sending the Turkish-owned Turksat 5A communication satellite into orbit - despite outcry from Armenia to cancel the launch.
Protesters held signs alleging the satellite would be used to 'kill civilians' by targeting Armenians with unmanned aerial vehicles amid the deadly conflict between the two nations.It seems their voices went unheard, as SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 with the satellite at its helm Thursday evening.
Scroll down for videos
The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan is over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is mostly controlled by ethnic Armenians.
Fighting periodically breaks out around Nagorno-Karabakh's borders, often deadly, notably in 2016 and July 2020.Since recent fighting erupted in October, dozens have been killed and wounded in apparent shelling by both sides - and each country blames the other.
Armenian activists took to the streets to protest SpaceX's ties with their enemy and also sent the firm emails with the subject 'What if Elon was Armenian.'
In the email, obtained by TechCrunch, activists explained Armenians worldwide, an ethnic and national group, ‘has suffered under the authoritarian rule and regional influence of Turkey’s President, Tayyip Erdogan’ – and the word ‘genocide’ was shown numerous times in the message.
TechCrunch exchanged emails with a person listed as the campaign's originator who said: 'There are calls for sanctions of Turkey by the US and other NATO countries.'
'SpaceX is strongly urged to take all these factors into consideration and decide for itself whether or not it wants to continue to aid Turkey in the face of such overwhelming and clear evidence of criminal actions.'
'At the very least, Elon Musk and SpaceX can halt the launch to see what these investigations lead to. While this may be a loss of profit for SpaceX it would be a huge leap for world progress.'
According to, SpaceX is planning on sending another Turskat satellite into space later this year.
The Turskat 5A satellite is currently floating in orbit that, according to its Turkish owners, will enhance communication abilities in Turkey, along with parts of Asia, Europe and Africa.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 took off from Cape Canaveral at 9:15pm ET Thursday, following a 45-minute delay - the cause has not yet been revealed.
Following the mission, the Falcon 9 booster fell back to earth to land on the droneship Just Read The Instructions sitting in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX had a busy launch season in 2020 – it clocked in 29 successful missions – but 2021 is set to be twice as exciting for the firm that plans to send its Falcon 9 rockets into orbit more than 40 times.
Musk's firm is also poised to launch its latest Starship prototype, Serial Number 9 (SN9), as soon as this weekend, according to airspace restrictions.
SN9 would attempt the same mission as its predecessor Serial Number 8 (SN8) that completed a high-altitude test flight of 7.8 miles on December 8.
The massive rocket hit its flight goal, but exploded on the launch pad the moment it touched down.
However, Musk deemed the launch a success — saying that the prototype, even though it was destroyed, collected a trove of data that will bring SpaceX one step closer to sending humans to Mars aboard the rocket.