The most experienced Falcon 9 rocket in SpaceX’s fleet vaulted off its Cape Canaveral pad Tuesday, delivering 60 Starlink internet satellites to low-Earth orbit and flipping around for its seventh effective arriving to date.
“For the seventh time, this Falcon has landed,” Kate Tice, a reliability engineer at SpaceX, said after the 162-foot first stage conducted an autonomous landing on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship 250 miles northeast of Florida.
The achievement makes this booster, assigned B1049, the most experienced in SpaceX’s fleet. In the event that post-launch investigations look great, it’ll be cleared for an eighth flight, pushing the organization ever nearer to CEO Elon Musk’s expressed objective of flying rockets 10 times with minimal refurbishment.
Different parts of Falcon 9 rockets, for example, nose cones, are sometimes recuperated and re-flown, however the second stages that support the payloads near their final orbits are most certainly not. SpaceX’s reusability efforts principally center around the first stage, which by a long shot is the most costly gratitude to its size and nine Merlin main engines.
Tuesday’s mission launched another achievement for the California-based organization: 100 Falcon 9 launches since its presentation in 2010. However, with 23 total Falcon 9 missions this year, that implies SpaceX has flown almost a fourth of its whole 10-year portfolio in 2020 alone.
Of the 27 total Space Coast launches this year, 14 have been for the Starlink internet constellation, which is presently delivering a $99-a-month service to clients in northern latitudes like Canada, Washington, and Michigan. Some planned clients found farther south who signed up for public beta access could start getting invitations to join right on time one year from now.
The only hardware expected to access the network is a 19-inch dish and wireless router, which clients buy at $499 before monthly charges kick in. While not as fast as some ground-based internet providers, Starlink’s 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps speeds offer a lot of bandwidth for the average American family unit focused on streaming video, working from home, and gaming.
For others like remote crisis or military personnel, Starlink has just made advances and is ready to fill in those fields, as well.
Until this point in time, SpaceX has launched just under 960 of the flat-packed satellites to an orbit of around 350 miles. Despite the fact that a few batches have degraded orbits and at last wrecked in the atmosphere, somewhere in the range of 800 and 850 remain.
The Space Coast’s next mission, then, will come as one more Falcon 9. Groups at Kennedy Space Center will launch an uncrewed Cargo Dragon capsule packed with a huge number of pounds of supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station at 11:39 a.m. Dec. 5.