Wednesday April 28, a Falcon 9 rocket SpaceX took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. On board, there were 60 Starlink satellites intended to join those already in orbit to form the mega-constellation promising to provide Internet access to all regions of the world.
What this latest launch was special, is the fact that the booster was used to his 7th flight, and he also managed to land for the 7th time, this time on the automated barge named " Just Read the Instructions ”. According to the engineer SpaceX Jessie Anderson, who commented on the launch, it's the 81 th time that the company did not get the first floor of the Falcon 9 rocket.
This year, SpaceX conducts its launches with a steady pace, the launch of 28 April already the 12th this year. The majority of these launches correspond to the orbiting of Starlink satellites, the number of which already exceeds the 1,440 of the initial constellation.
Pushing the limits of reuse
According to information, SpaceX intends to reuse its boosters to their limit. The one that was used on April 28, called B1060, is also one of the veterans of the fleet with its 7 flights and 7 recoveries. The first time it was used was to launch a US Space Force GPS III satellite in June 2020. It was the first time the military allowed SpaceX to recover the first stage of their rocket afterwards. putting an army device into orbit. The booster was then used for 6 launches, including one to orbit a communication satellite from Turkey, and 5 for Starlink satellites.
In all, SpaceX is now at 115 launches for the Falcon 9, and that's now 61 times a booster has been reused. When the Falcon 9 was deployed in 2018, Elon Musk, the CEO of the company, indicated that they expected each booster to fly 10 times with minor renovations and up to 100 times in all before be retired. Following the launch of the Crew-2 mission, Musk also said with regard to reusing boosters that while no one is going to want to fly a “veteran” booster, a booster that has already flown once or twice would probably be better for one. inhabited mission.
Musk added that among SpaceX's rockets there is one that has already flown 9 times and that they are planning to fly it a tenth time soon. The SpaceX CEO has spoken about their plan to launch Starlink satellites with recovered boosters until they reach their limit and break.
Starlink sets up
As for the Starlink constellation, more than 1,500 satellites are currently orbiting the Earth, including those that are no longer operational. There are still many launches ahead of the tens of thousands planned.
SpaceX's goal for Starlink is to be able to provide an Internet connection anywhere in the world, even in the most remote areas. Currently, the service is in its beta testing phase, with users in the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, as well as New Zealand being able to access it. We know that pre-orders are now open and that the company is planning a full deployment towards the end of this year.
There are only a few months left before you can use SpaceX's Internet service and see if it is able to meet users' expectations.