SpaceX successfully launches 60 new Starlink satellites with its 14th mission
SpaceX has been placing satellites in orbit to grow its constellation of Starlink satellites for a while now, and the service is available in beta for users in many areas. Early Sunday morning, May 9, 2021, SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 rocket into orbit packed with 60 Starlink satellites. The launch went off without a hitch, and SpaceX successfully recovered the first stage rocket on its drone ship at sea.
With the successful mission, SpaceX has set another record conducting the 10th flight with a single reusable rocket booster. The launch began at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Station at 2:42 AM EDT. SpaceX’s launch marked the 14th launch by the company this year. This particular booster flew for its 10th flight and landing attempt.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk posted on Twitter before the launch noting that this was the first time a Falcon rocket booster reached a double-digit number of flights. The launch also marked the second time SpaceX has sent a pair of Falcon 9 rockets into space in the same week, each carrying 60 Starlink broadband satellites.
SpaceX noted that about nine minutes after liftoff, the first stage returned to Earth with a successful touchdown on the drone ship “Just Read the Instructions.” During 2020, SpaceX launched 26 rockets setting a record and with 14 launches already on the books in 2021, the company is on the path to match or exceed that record.
It’s also interesting to note that every launch that’s happened in 2021 has been conducted with rockets that have flown previously. Even the Crew-2 mission earlier this year launched to the ISS using a rocket that had previously flown. Currently, SpaceX has 1440 Starlink satellites in orbit and has plans to launch thousands more.