SpaceX Breaks New Reusability Record with Its Sixth Falcon 9 Launch

This 11th Starlink mission marks a new milestone with the Falcon 9 rocket.

Photo courtesy of SpaceX.

Photo courtesy of SpaceX.

On August 18, SpaceX successfully launched a new batch of Starlink satellites into orbit with its Falcon 9 rocket. In all, 58 SpaceX Internet-beaming Starlink satellites were loaded onto the rocket, along with three small probes. These three additional passengers are SkySat satellites used by Planet for Earth observation. This marks the second time that SkySat satellites hitchhiked along with SpaceX Starlinks, with three SkySat satellites also launched into orbit on the previous mission in June. While launches usually include 60 Starlink satellites, SpaceX has always been open to making space available for companies looking for a ride to orbit.

SpaceX has launched nearly 600 satellites so far for its Starlink project, which aims to build a constellation of satellites capable of providing Internet coverage from orbit. Betatesting has already begun through speed tests conducted with small groups. According to the company’s website, betatesting will begin in rural Washington before expanding to the Northern United States and southern Canada.

Liftoff was at 10:31 a.m. ET from SpaceX’s launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The SkySats were the first to be deployed approximately 12.5 minutes after takeoff, followed by the Starlink satellites half an hour after. The Falcon 9 returned to one of the company’s drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean after successfully deploying the payload into orbit.

The Falcon 9 has already been used and reused a total of six times. According to reports, the success of this latest mission opens the possibility of it being launched again for the seventh time. This was the 11th Starlink mission.

Watch the record-breaking sixth flight below.

For more news and stories, check out why NASA broke its own rocket here.