SpaceX flies Falcon 9 rocket booster for record 9th time
San Francisco, March 14 (IANS) Tech billionaire Elon Musk’s private aerospace company SpaceX on Sunday launched 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This was the ninth launch and landing of Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously supported launch of Crew Dragon Demo-1, RADARSAT Constellation, SXM-7, and five Starlink missions.
According to a TechCrunch report, the launch also set a record for SpaceX for its Falcon 9 rocket reusability programme, since it was the ninth flight and ninth landing for this particular first-stage booster.
The booster was used previously on a variety of missions, including five prior Starlink launches, as well as the Demo-1 mission for the company’s Crew Dragon capsule, which was the uncrewed test flight that proved it would work as intended from launch all the way to docking with the International Space Station and then returning back to Earth, the report said.
SpaceX set its prior reusability record in January this year — another Starlink launch — using this very same refurbished first stage, which had just flown in December of last year before that.
SpaceX not only wants to continue to show that it can re-fly these boosters more and more times, but also that it can turn them around quickly for their next mission, since both speed and volume will have a significant impact on launch costs.