SpaceX booster reaches 13 flights

June 17 at 12:08 pm E.T. from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center

SpaceX once again reaches a new height of reusability today as the first Falcon 9 first stage booster reaches thirteen flights today during the Starlink 4-19 mission. This eighteenth launch to the fourth Starlink shell sent up another fifty-three of their global internet satellites into low Earth orbit. This also marks the forty-seventh operational Starlink mission, bringing the total number of satellites launched to 2,706 with 2457 still in operation around our planet.

Photo by: Kyle Montgomery – NHS

Starlink of course is SpaceX’s internet communication satellite constellation delivers fast, low latency internet, and once complete will span the entire globe. Starlink is already starting to serve locations where ground base services are unreliable, unavailable, or expensive. The profits from this enterprise will largely finance SpaceX’s Starship program along with the Mars Base Alpha, with the planned thirty to fifty billion dollars profit annually it’s expected to bring in.

Roughly eight minutes after launch Falcon 9 B1060 touched down on the deck of A Shortfall of Gravitas about 650km into the Atlantic Ocean. Support ship Doug scooped up today’s fairings after they used parachutes to softly touch down in the surrounding area of the ocean.

Falcon 9 B1060 started its service in the launching fleet back in June of 2020 for the GPS III SV03 mission. From there it launched two Starlink missions back to back before the Turksat 5A mission in January of 2021. This time it went for three more Starlink missions before launching the most satellites ever on a single rocket for the Transporter-2 mission. Today’s launch marked the fourth Starlink in a row since that T-2 mission back in June of 2021, and it will most likely only fly Starlink missions from here on out as this is now the most heavily flown rocket in the company. It also has launched the most satellites to date of any single rocket as each Starlink mission consists of at least forty-eight satellites.