SpaceX is on course to make its satellite broadband network live very soon, as the space agency launches another batch of 60 Starlink satellites into the low-Earth orbit. The launch took place from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 9:13 p.m. EST on Wednesday.
Besides the Starlink mission, SpaceX was also successful in breaking its own record by rescuing a Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster for a seventh trip. This specific booster has been on six different missions previously like the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018, the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019, and four Starlink missions. SpaceX was successful in recovering the first stage booster in all of these missions and used it for the next.
After today’s launch, SpaceX yet again managed to recover the first stage booster from the Falcon 9. It landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship which was located in the Atlantic Ocean. This means that SpaceX will be able to break the record again and use the booster for the eighth time in the future.
Falcon 9’s first stage lands on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship! pic.twitter.com/RZGbgzDBwf
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 25, 2020
The space company also tries to recover the fairings on a rocket, which covers the payload. It did so in previous missions and has successfully reused it in some other mission. One of the fairings attached to today’s mission was previously used in a mission and the other half has been used in the previous two missions.
SpaceX is practicing reusability to help cut costs on mission launches. Every mission with a reused booster or a fairing helps cut down on the cost for the launch. Today’s launch was most likely SpaceX’s most cost-effective launch ever.
Moving over to Starlink, the company has now launched over 1000 satellites into the low-earth orbit for its internet constellation. Elon Musk’s ambition of providing satellite broadband connection across the globe is already almost underway as SpaceX has started testing the technology as part of the “Better Than Nothing Beta” test program. This beta program is inviting people who requested availability updates on Starlink.com and who live in serviceable areas, to test the satellite internet connection. Even Canada has granted regulatory approval to Starlink and therefore, SpaceX has started rolling out the service to parts of southern Canada.