On Tuesday August 18, the company successfully launched its latest batch of Starlink satellites into orbit. Liftoff took place at exactly 10:31 a.m. EDT from SLC 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The payload included 58 Starlink satellites alongside three Earth observation satellites manufactured by Earth imaging company Planet Labs Inc.
Approximately eight minutes after liftoff, the B1049 landed smoothly on the deck of SpaceX’s “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) drone ship.
The company has deployed 653 satellites out of 12,000 so far. SpaceX conducted this latest launch less than 2 weeks after completing its long-delayed tenth Starlink mission, Starlink-9.
The company already rolled out its beta internet service this month. SpaceX is now seeking to speed up the deployment of its constellation in order to enhance the service’s performance.
Records are meant to be broken…by SpaceX
Another SpaceX mission, another record broken. The Falcon 9 booster used for this mission has now been successfully reused for a record sixth time.
Some other noteworthy numbers
This latest Starlink mission marks the 40th time a Falcon 9 booster has been re-deployed into orbit.
SpaceX is also within striking distance of reaching another important milestone. This mission marked the company’s 99th overall launch of Falcon rockets. It should be noted that this number includes all versions of the booster.
A “catchy” sequence
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk posted a video of the fairing recovery of the Falcon 9’s nosecone in the Pacific Ocean.
Musk humorously included in the video what can best be described as elevator music.
One fairing half was recovered by SpaceX’s recovery ship, the MS Tree. A SpaceX webcast host and engineer later revealed that one of two fairing catch attempts were successful for that mission.
In conclusion, SpaceX is taking full advantage of its fleet of reusable Falcon 9 boosters. Throughout the history of aerospace, rockets were a one-and-done affair. Its parts were discarded and never used again.
SpaceX has since broken that trend and is now striving to make humanity a multiplanetary civilization.