SpaceX completed another flawless launch on June 3rd – and the recovery of its Falcon 9 first stage a few minutes later.
It was the sixth SpaceX launch this year (the second in five days) and the fifth use of the first stage booster which some dubbed the ‘sooty launcher’.
Sooty or not the whole process worked and 60 more of Elon Musk’s Starlink mini-satellites are now being placed into orbit and takes the total to almost 500 craft.
The launch took place at 9.25 Eastern Daylight Time and lit up the Florida coast. The actual satellites were deployed about 15 minutes after take-off.
Barely two-and-a-half minutes later the booster started its journey back to Earth – or water in this case – and it landed on the SpaceX drone floating landing pad, named ‘Just read the instructions’. The landing broke more records, the 53rd successful booster landing and the 34th on a floating barge and puts SpaceX into the world’s largest satellite opwerator.
Once about 720 satellites are in orbit – a 12-launch task – then SpaceX can begin testing and perhaps offering a “minor” service in some regions of the world. Musk’s overall plan is for 12,000 of these particular satellites, and 1600 in the company’s first phase.