16 Missions, 1 Booster: Elon Musk's SpaceX Pulls Off Reusable Launch Triumph

Elon Musk‘s SpaceX on Sunday launched 22 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Florida aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. While Starlink satellite launches are not new for SpaceX, it was for the first time a booster was launched for the 16th time.

What Happened: After Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ droneship after the launch, SpaceX said it is the first time a booster has been launched 16 times and landed back on Earth sixteen times.

The booster previously launched several missions including Crew Demo-2 to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard in 2020. The mission marked America’s return to low-Earth orbit on an American rocket since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

The booster identified as B1058 also launched ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, Transporter-3, and ten other Starlink missions.

The 16th launch was originally scheduled for Sunday morning but was delayed owing to weather conditions.

Why It Matters: The Falcon 9 is the first orbital class rocket capable of flight and is aimed at driving the cost of space access lower.

With the latest launch, SpaceX has launched 4,768 satellites of which 4,397 are working, according to an analysis by astronomer Jonathan McDowell.

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Photo by Fedor Selivanov on Shutterstock

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