SpaceX has delivered one other 60 Starlink satellites to orbit — which means it has despatched 180 in whole to affix its 1,000+ sturdy constellation previously two weeks alone. As we speak’s launch additionally set a report for SpaceX for its Falcon 9 rocket reusability program, because it was the ninth flight and ninth touchdown for this specific first-stage booster.
The booster was used beforehand on quite a lot of missions, together with 5 prior Starlink launches, in addition to the Demo-1 mission for the corporate’s Crew Dragon capsule, which was the uncrewed check flight that proved it could work as supposed from launch all the way in which to docking with the Worldwide House Station after which returning again to Earth.
SpaceX set its prior reusability report in January this yr – one other Starlink launch – utilizing this exact same refurbished first stage, which had simply flown in December of final yr earlier than that. SpaceX not solely needs to proceed to point out that it might re-fly these boosters increasingly more occasions, but in addition that it might flip them round rapidly for his or her subsequent mission, since each velocity and quantity can have a major affect on launch prices.
Rocket reuse is of specific significance in terms of these Starlink missions, that are taking place with growing frequency as SpaceX pushes to develop the provision of its Starlink broadband web service globally. As talked about, that is the third launch of 60 satellites for the constellation in simply 10 days — the latest launch occurred simply Thursday, and the primary of this trio passed off the Thursday earlier than that.
From right here, count on SpaceX to simply proceed to launch at roughly this tempo for the following couple of minutes, because it has two extra deliberate Starlink launches earlier than March is over, together with one tentatively set for subsequent Sunday. As the corporate is its personal buyer for these missions, it’s consuming the price of the launches (no less than till Starlink begins working past its present beta and bringing in additional income) so re-flying boosters is an efficient approach to assist mitigate the general spend.