SpaceX launches Starlink satellites on Falcon 9 rocket, breaks reusability record


On November 11, SpaceX successfully launched 60 Starlink satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The company notably broke two rocket reusability records in the mission.

SpaceX posted a video of the triumphant Falcon 9 liftoff on Twitter.

Record-Breaking Reusability

During a recent interview at the U.S. Air Force’s Space Pitch Day event, SpaceX CEO said that having “a fully, rapidly reusable orbital rocket” is the space program’s biggest problem.

SpaceX is an aerospace industry leader in launching reusable rocket parts. The company broke reusability records in the November 11 launch.

First, a Falcon 9 first stage launched and landed for its fourth time. Furthermore, the company recovered it after a controlled landing onto its “Of Course I Love You” drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Potentially, the safe landing and recovery could mean the booster can be reused again.

Second, the flight included a previously flown fairing for the first time. To date, no other rocket company has achieved this feat.

The fairing serves as a cover that protects the satellites during the journey out of Earth’s atmosphere. According to a Tech Crunch report, Musk has previously estimated that SpaceX could save around $6 million per launch by using the same fairing on multiple flights.

Unfortunately, the company’s “catcher” ships, “Ms. Tree” and “Ms. Chief,” were unable to recover the fairing following this launch.

Eventually, Musk aims to colonize the moon and Mars. He also wants to send up to 100 people into space with the company’s enormous Starship rocket and Super Heavy launch system. Hitting this launch’s reusability targets bodes well for SpaceX’s future space exploration and development plans.

Nonetheless, getting rocket launches to mirror the reusability frequency of commercial airline flights is a monumental endeavor. It is also one that could still be years in the making.

Successful Starlink Satellites Deployment

SpaceX hit another milestone in successfully launching and deploying 60 more Starlink satellites. The new batch marks the first in a series of launches that will complete the constellation. The company confirmed the mission’s success on social media.

Ultimately, the company plans to offer internet service to consumers when all the satellites are up and running.

It’s worth noting that SpaceX will need tens of thousands of satellites to build its massive broadband network. The company aims to establish a global internet service that delivers orbital connectivity as the sats continuously circle the Earth. In current models, a small cluster of large stationary satellites provide connections to a single terrestrial region.

SpaceX’s visionary CEO successfully sent a tweet from a Starlink satellite in October.

In its initial rollout, the company plans to provide broadband service for customers in the U.S. and Canada. This coverage scheme will require six more Starlink launches. SpaceX will need to complete 24 more launches to set up global connectivity.

As The Burn-In previously reported, the Hawthorne, California based company aims to launch its Starlink broadband service next year.