FP TrendingAug 19, 2020 15:37:13 IST
SpaceX recently launched 58 more satellites in its internet broadband constellation Starlink, using a Falcon 9 first-stage booster that broke its own earlier record for the most reused rocket booster. The SpaceX launch on 18 August marked the sixth reuse of the Falcon 9 first stage booster.
As per a report in CNBC, Elon Musk’s company landed the Falcon 9 booster rocket on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean a few minutes after it launched the company’s Starlink mission from Florida.
The launch took place from SpaceX’s launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and included a recovery attempt for the booster.
The successful recovery means that the booster can potentially be used again, breaking its own earlier record. The launch also made use of a re-flown payload fairing – the part of the rocket that covers the satellites being launched till they reach low-Earth orbit, as per a Tech Crunch report. The fairing was recovered from SpaceX’s fourth Starlink satellite launch and refurbished for reuse.
According to a report in New Atlas, the fairings are worth millions of dollars apiece and last month the company was able to collect both pieces by using vessels equipped with giant nets. However, it did not find the same success this time around with one ship catching one of the halves and the other making a soft landing on the sea.
The team was, however, able to capture a video of the fairing floating back to Earth before safely nestling in the net, which was shared by CEO Elon Musk on Twitter, alongside the caption, “Aloha, welcome back from space.”
Aloha, welcome back from space 💫 pic.twitter.com/xWPN09Wtaw
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 18, 2020
This was the company’s 95th successful launch since it was founded in 2002. SpaceX has landed rocket boosters 58 times and re-used the boosters at total of 40 times so far.
Following an upgrade to the Falcon 9 in May 2018, Elon Musk had touted that the rocket is capable of at least 100 flights. However, SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell, has since said that they do not need to fly it more than 10 times.
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