SpaceX has delivered one other 60 Starlink satellites to orbit — which means it has despatched 180 in complete to hitch its 1,000+ robust 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 explicit 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 might work as meant from launch all the best way to docking with the Worldwide House Station after which returning again to Earth.
SpaceX set its prior reusability record in January this year – one other Starlink launch – utilizing this exact same refurbished first stage, which had simply flown in December of final 12 months earlier than that. SpaceX not solely needs to proceed to point out that it will probably re-fly these boosters an increasing number of occasions, but additionally that it will probably flip them round rapidly for his or her subsequent mission, since each pace and quantity could have a major influence on launch prices.
Rocket reuse is of explicit significance in relation to 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 most recent launch happened just Thursday, and the primary of this trio befell the Thursday earlier than that.
From right here, count on SpaceX to only proceed to launch at roughly this tempo for the subsequent short while, 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 (at the very least till Starlink begins working past its present beta and bringing in additional income) so re-flying boosters is an effective method to assist mitigate the general spend.