SpaceX has delivered another 60 Starlink satellites to orbit — meaning it has sent 180 in total to join its 1,000+ robust constellation in the past two weeks alone. Today’s launch also set a record for SpaceX for its Falcon 9 rocket reusability program since it was the ninth flight and ninth landing for this particular first-stage booster.
The booster was used previously on a variety of missions, including five prior Starlink launches, as well as the Demo-1 mission for the company’s Crew Dragon capsule, which was the uncrewed test flight that proved it would work as intended from launch to docking with the International Space Station and then returning to Earth.
SpaceX set its prior reusability record in January this year – another Starlink launch – using this very same refurbished first stage, which had just flown in December of last year before that. SpaceX wants to continue to show that it can re-fly these boosters more and more times and that it can turn them around quickly for their next mission since both speed and volume will have a significant impact on launch costs.
Rocket reuse is of particular importance for these Starlink missions, which are happening with increasing frequency as SpaceX pushes to expand the availability of its Starlink broadband internet service globally. As mentioned, this is the third launch of 60 satellites for the constellation in just ten days — the most recent launch happened just Thursday, and the first of this trio took place the Thursday before that.
From here, expect SpaceX to continue to launch at roughly this pace for the next little while since it has two more planned Starlink launches before March is over, including one tentatively set for next Sunday. As the company is its customer for these missions, it’s eating the cost of the launches (at least until Starlink starts operating beyond its current beta and bringing in more revenue), so re-flying boosters is an excellent way to help mitigate the overall spend.