SpaceX has launched yet another batch of Starlink satellites that are keeping its fast pace with launches for the broadband constellation that it is implementing in a low earth orbit. This now amounts to 300 Starlink satellites launched since March 4, with 60 on each of five flights between then and now.
The most recent launch before this one took place on March 24 with previous flights on March 14, March 11 and March 4. This pace is deliberately fast, as SpaceX has said it aims to launch a total of 1,500 Starlink satellites during this calendar year. Before the particularly busy month, SpaceX also flew four other Starlink missions, including a split ride on SpaceX’s first dedicated rideshare mission, which also carried satellites to other customers.
In total, SpaceX has now launched 1
SpaceX recently signed a new agreement with NASA outlining how the two organizations avoid close approaches or collision events between their respective spacecraft. NASA has measures it requires all launch vehicles to follow to avoid such incidents, but the scale and frequency of SpaceX’s Starlink missions necessitated a further, more comprehensive agreement.
This launch also included a landing of the Falcon 9 booster used, the seventh so far. The booster touched as planned on SpaceX’s floating landing plate in the Atlantic Ocean and will be refurbished for yet another potential recycling. SpaceX will also seek to reclaim its mantle halves at sea, which are the two cargo cover screens that enclose the satellites during takeoff. The company actually removed just two ships that they had used to try to catch these out of the air when they fell, braked by parachutes, but it still appears to be retrieving them from the sea after splashdown for recycling.