US Eastern Time, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully put the 29th batch of Starlink satellites into orbit, and then successfully landed at sea. So far, the total number of satellites in orbit has reached 1,737. On the same day, the rocket lifted off from launch pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Base in Florida. This is the company’s 16th launch mission this year.
SpaceX has always used recovery rockets to launch, because so far, all its launch missions in 2021 have been completed by reusable rockets, of which 13 missions have launched Starlink satellites.
This successful launch marks the fourth time in 4 weeks that SpaceX has launched the Starlink satellite with a Falcon 9 rocket. The company is working to expand the scale of its space satellite Internet. With the successful launch on Wednesday, SpaceX has put 1,737 Starlink satellites into orbit (including the initial test version), exceeding the company’s initial application threshold of 1,440. However, the company has been approved to launch more satellites.
At present, Starlink satellite Internet is still in the testing stage, users all over the world will be testing this service, and then will launch a comprehensive commercial service later this year. SpaceX has opened the Starlink website for reservations, and said that there are currently more than 500,000 users registered.
The booster used by SpaceX on Wednesday’s launch is called B1063. It is one of SpaceX’s latest boosters and has now completed two launches and landings. B1063 made its debut in November 2020, when a marine mapping satellite named Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich was launched for NASA and the European Space Agency.
The Falcon 9 rocket has always been the main launch force of SpaceX and is helping the company achieve its goal of rapid reuse. Recently, the booster named B1051 achieved a new milestone, becoming the first booster to be launched and recovered 10 times, and it will continue to perform its mission. Musk said that 10 flights is not a hard limit.
At the same time, Wednesday’s launch also marked the 100th consecutive successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket since the failed launch in 2015. That incident occurred when the second stage of the rocket failed en route to the International Space Station, resulting in an explosion and loss of cargo space.