A Falcon 9 rocket has been sent on its seventh trip to space by SpaceX
On Tuesday night, SpaceX successfully launched another batch of the company’s internet-from-space Starlink satellites to orbit. They used a very space-hardened Falcon 9 rocket for the job. This launch marked the rocket’s seventh flight to space. And back the first time SpaceX has flown such a seasoned vehicle to orbit.
The Falcon 9 took off at 9:13 PM ET from SpaceX’s launch site. It has 60 Starlink satellites in tow. In the first stage of Falcon 9 the bulk of the vehicle that contains the main engines separated from the rest of the rocket and came back to Earth after a quick trip to space. It then performed one of SpaceX’s signature rocket landings, touching down on one of the company’s drone ships in the Atlantic.
The Falcon 9 had boosted two communications satellites to orbit on two separate missions before this flight. The vehicle used to launch four separate Starlink launches too. It wasn’t just the rocket that had flown before either. The rocket’s nosecone, which surrounds the satellites during the climb to space, was also used before for previous flights. One half of the nosecone or payload fairing had flow once before, while the other half had flown twice before this launch.