On Tuesday, SpaceX will carry out what has become a very routine mission to send another batch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit. This will be the 26th such launch primarily dedicated to Starlink, if you count the first group of early test satellites launched in May 2019 (and omit the Transporter-1 rideshare that only carried 10 Starlinks).
But what is perhaps most remarkable is the first stage booster that lifts from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Tuesday afternoon. It is expected to be the same Falcon 9 first phase already flown on eight other missions, meaning it will make a record-breaking ninth career flight. The current record holder for most launches and landings is, of course, another Falcon 9.
The booster, flying this week (listed as B1049), will complete its seventh Starlink mission, meaning that if all goes well, B1049 will be responsible for launching more than 25 percent of all Starlink satellites ever launched, all lonely.
And the booster that B1049 will share the overall launch record with, B1051, is responsible for 23 percent of Starlink. So together, only two Falcon 9 rocket boosters have managed to lift nearly half of the more than 1,500 Starlinks launched to date.
It is clear that rockets can really be recycled.
As if the B1049’s Starlink service was not enough, it also flew two major satellite missions before the first Starlink launch. We’ll see how much more life this only powerful light has left in it.
You can watch its ninth career launch right here via the feed above. Liftoff is currently set for 12:01 pm PT (3:01 pm ET) on Tuesday, as long as the weather cooperates in the Atlantic landing zone. Livestream should begin approx. 10 minutes before launch.
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