This is the company’s third launch since its inceptionon May 30, and for the first time, one of his rockets landed and recovered after lifting a military satellite to orbit. Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the droneship. Read the instructions eight minutes after launch. SpaceX also reported being able to recover both halves of the fairing, or nose cone, for reuse in a future mission.
The mission is the eleventh launch of the company in 2020. Continuing this intense pace of launches would allow the start-up of the Elon Musk commercial space to easily set a business record for most launches in a year.
The company launched another military GPS satellite in 2018. At the time, the US Air Force decided that SpaceX would not be able to perform the necessary flight path and also land on the first stage repeater, according to SpaceNews.
Since then, SpaceX and the U.S. military have negotiated changes in GPS mission requirements and launch costs to allow SpaceX to recycle the booster.
The Falcon 9 booster used today during the launch was brand new and this was his first mission. Two previous launches in June used boosters that had previously been piloted. On Tuesday, the booster (designed B1060) successfully landed on the Just Read The Instructions droneship, about 10 minutes after launch.
More to come soon
SpaceX had also planned the second one Starlink last week’s ride-share mission, but the launch was postponed, with July 8th as the new expected launch date.
“The team needed additional time for pre-launch checkouts, but Falcon 9 and the satellites are in good shape,” SpaceX tweeted a couple of hours before the scheduled launch time on Friday.
SpaceX had its busiest year so far in 2018 with 21 launches. He is now in the process of eclipsing that sign in 2020, perhaps hitting 38 launches for the year if his plans come out. The airline hopes to continue filling its schedule with multiple take-offs, targeting 70 missions in 2023, according to a filing plan with the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year.
Many of the launches will be Starlink missions, as SpaceX tries to put tens of thousands of small satellites into orbit in this decade. Society also started, making room for some commercial payloads alongside a group of Starlink birds.
The next Starlink launch will be set to be Starlink’s second round, this time with two microsatellites observing the Earth for Black Sky, a company that provides high definition satellite imagery.
SpaceX is looking to expand the size of its growing constellation to nearly 600 satellites and closer to the threshold of 800 flying routers which.