SpaceX fired a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida on Tuesday evening, marking 100th overall and 23rd place this year. The missile launched another set of 60into orbit with a first stage making a seventh record flight.
TheThe total number launched so far has been increased to 955 as SpaceX continues to build a global constellation of Internet Relay satellites to provide broadband services to subscribers around the world. Thousands of more satellites are planned.
The nine motors of the well-traveled booster fired at 9:13 p.m. ET, throttled to full power and the sleek missile swiftly pushed away from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a brilliant jet of fiery exhaust.
The launch came three days later than planned as high winds delayed the triggering of an engine test in the first stage and inclement weather in the offshore booster recovery zone.
But it was clear that the 30-story Falcon 9 sped across the Atlantic on Tuesday, putting on a spectacular early evening show for residents and tourists.
The first stage of the rocket was a seventh record run from the lower atmosphere and became the “fleet leader” of SpaceX Falcon 9. Two and a half minutes after launch, nine Merlin 1D engines were switched off and disconnected from the second stage of the Falcon 9.
While the second stage continued into orbit with the power of its single vacuum motor, the first stage fell back to earth and resulted in a beautiful landing on a waiting SpaceX drone ship. Touchdown was the company’s 67th successful booster recovery, 46th at sea, and second landing in two days.
SpaceX’s founder and chief designer said the first stages of Falcon 9 “Block 5” should be able to fly up to 10 times without major overhauls and up to 100 times with scheduled inspections and maintenance.
In any case, a few seconds after the booster was placed on the “Of course I still love you” drone ship, the Falcon 9’s second stage was switched off, and six minutes later the 60 Starlink Internet relay satellites were released to fly independently .
SpaceX is currently testing the first Starlink service in parts of Canada and the northern United States. The company has regulatory clearance to launch thousands of satellites in six planes of orbit to provide seamless broadband to commercial receivers around the world, not just at the higher latitudes currently served.
Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, an independent space analyst, said it appears that so far 54 starlinks have been deliberately deorbed, another six have been re-entered after possible failures, and 18 others appear to be unable to maneuver. According to this count, 817 Starlinks were considered operational for launch on Sunday.