May 14 at 4:38 am E.T. from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
For the first time this year the space coast is seeing a brand new booster from SpaceX being launched. Today’s early morning Starlink mission used Falcon 9 B1073, a completely unused first stage make its debut launch for the company as another fifty-three satellites were launched into orbit.
In what appears a strange move for the company, perhaps this is the way of the future for SpaceX. Used to be that commercial launches, or launches for the NRO or NASA would require SpaceX to use new boosters, but those rules have changed over time as the company has proven reliability in re-flying first stages. Perhaps customers are now wanting a booster flown before for their mission purposes since they are tried and true. We won’t know for sure, not unless they tell us anyway.
What we do know though is this is the beginning of a long career for B1073 in the launching fleet, and that SpaceX has sent up another batch of fifty-three Starlink satellites this morning. With yesterdays launch of Starlink 4-13 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California the total number of the company’s satellites is now up to 2,355 still in orbit, in operation with over 2,500 total being launched.