In a remarkable achievement, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket has set a new record for rocket reusability. The milestone was achieved during a recent mission where the Falcon 9 successfully carried 22 of SpaceX's Starlink V2 Mini internet satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO). The Falcon 9 lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Tuesday at 11:38 p.m. EDT, marking the beginning of its remarkable journey. What makes this launch extraordinary is the reuse of the first-stage booster, designated as B1058-17, which successfully landed back on the "A Shortfall of Gravitas" droneship stationed at sea approximately eight-and-a-half minutes after liftoff. This feat represents the 17th flight of this particular first-stage booster, setting a new world record for rocket reusability.
The previous record, held jointly by two different Falcon 9 boosters, was 16 flights. This remarkable achievement underscores SpaceX's commitment to advancing the field of reusable rocketry. This 17th flight of the first-stage booster is a testament to the engineering prowess of SpaceX's team. It's an accomplishment that pushes the boundaries of what's possible in rocket technology.
The first-stage booster, B1058-17, has an impressive flight history, having previously supported missions like NASA's Crew Demo-2 which launched astronauts to the International Space Station, ANASIS-11, NASA CRS-21, SpaceX's Transporter-1 and Transporter-3 rideshare missions, and now 12 Starlink missions. This extensive track record showcases the reliability and durability of SpaceX's reusable technology. The company has consistently demonstrated its expertise in reusability, with a total of 227 orbital-class rocket landings and 199 reused boosters to date. These milestones reinforce the company's leading position in the competitive rocket industry.
During the mission, the Falcon 9's upper stage successfully deployed 22 Starlink V2 Mini satellites into orbit approximately 62.5 minutes after liftoff. These upgraded Starlink satellites offer four times the bandwidth of their predecessors and represent the 20th launch of the V2 Mini Starlink satellites. Originally planned for launch on SpaceX's fully-reusable Starship vehicle, the delayed debut of Starship prompted the creation of this smaller satellite version to enable their launch on the Falcon 9.
SpaceX's Starlink project continues to expand rapidly, with the company having launched a total of 5,135 Starlink satellites, approximately 4,786 of which remain in orbit, according to data compiled by astronomer Jonathan McDowell
. The Starlink constellation is already providing high-speed internet access to over 1.5 million subscribers worldwide, demonstrating the transformative impact of SpaceX's innovative approach to satellite internet connectivity.
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Featured Images Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.
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