SpaceX, an American aerospace company, has reportedly launched 60 Starlink satellites abroad its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit. This notable satellite launch marks the 10th flight of the booster, a key record for its reusability, with 180 satellites being launched into orbit in just 2 weeks.
In the recent Starlink mission, the Falcon 9 booster was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and successfully returned to its drone ship located in the Atlantic Ocean, which may lead to the possibility to fly yet again. Elon Musk, SpaceX’s CEO, has reportedly cited that the booster is expected to be able to fly more than 100 times through servicing and component replacement.
Over the past months, the Falcon 9 booster has flown on numerous missions, which include the Crew Dragon’s uncrewed demonstration mission and 7 prior Starlink launches. In addition, SpaceX has significantly showcased the reusability of its rockets through its aggressive Starlink launch schedule. Most of these launches have employed rocket boosters that have undergone several missions, including those that are conducted for the broadband internet mega-constellation.
Since the aerospace company is the launch provider & customer on Starlink, it is crucial to ensure cost savings due to its frequent flights to develop a network of low Earth orbit satellites. This target is expected to be reached via initiatives such as the re-use of the boosters to accrue cost savings over time. During the Starlink launch program, the company has also set its own reusability records of flight-proven boosters in building out the in-space satellite infrastructure.
The latest Starlink mission represents its 27th launch so far. SpaceX is further planning for another Starlink satellite launch on 15th May, along with plans for another mission later in the same month. These missions are targeted towards building the broadband network with a global reach by the end of 2021.