SpaceX is on a launching spree in 2021, and has sent yet another batch of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit in the 7th launch of the year. Moreover, this launch was special, since not only was it the third one of its kind in the last 2 weeks, it also helped the Elon Musk led space company break its own booster reusability record.
The Falcon 9 rocket used for this mission has now completed 9 missions during its lifetime, including 5 previous Starlink missions and Demo 1-SpaceX’s uncrewed test flight that proved that the company was ready to dock and undock from the International Space Station and paved the way for the company’s first manned flight.
This rocket was also used in a Starlink launch in January, where it set the record by becoming the only rocket to have been used on 8 different missions.
SpaceX has been doubling down on Starlink launches, and we expect the company to retain this speed for the foreseeable future. This is because the Elon Musk led company has already started operations in certain parts of the globe, and is looking to expand, not just geographically but also in services. This means better download and upload speeds, as well as a more stable connection. However, that would not come without a lot more satellites, and thus, SpaceX’s pace of launches is not surprising at all.
In fact, the company has scheduled a launch for next Sunday.
The company is looking to make a move to the bigger, more capable Starship, which, according to SpaceX, will be able to carry a lot more satellites into orbit in a single go. However, it is struggling on that end, as all the tests up until this point have ended up with a Starship prototype bursting into flames.
The constellation is already almost 1000+ satellites strong, and yet, it’s no where near its final stage. The company has started taking pre orders in many regions, including India, and plans to start delivering in these countries by next year.
Reusability is also very important for these Starlink missions, since as of yet, the company is spending massive amounts of money on these launches. Thus, reusing rockets will help bring costs down.