Sixth flight for a SpaceX Falcon 9
August 19, 2020
SpaceX entered the record books a few more times on August 18th with the launch of its 11th Starlink mission.
It carried 58 of its own broadband Starlink satellites on board plus 3 small satellites for imaging client Planet. In total this means that Planet has now lofted 21 ‘next-generation’ craft into orbit aboard US, European and Indian rockets, and this latest trio completes the Planet series of current missions.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 10.31 local Florida time from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, and with the rocket’s powerful reusable first stage being used being used for the sixth time. A record, and flawlessly to plan.
The first stage was used initially back in September 2018 to launch Telesat’s Telstar 18 VANTAGE satellite. Flight 2 carried 10 smaller Iridium communication satellites in January 2019. Flight 3, 4 and 5 each carried Starlink craft. The most recent was on June 3rd.
SpaceX says it can reuse its boosters 10 times without any major refurbishment.
The August 18th launch was the 14th of the year for SpaceX, another record. The first stage was recovered by the drone vessel ‘Of Course I Still Love You’.
The launch means SpaceX has now taken 653 Starlink craft to orbit.