SpaceX delivers 26th Starlink launch
May 10, 2021
By Chris Forrester
A May 9th launch from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 40 saw Elon Musk’s SpaceX break another record: the 10th flight of a single Falcon 9 booster rocket.
The launch, officially dubbed Flight 26, was the 14th mission this year and another record in that it was the second Starlink launch in a single week, not to mention a successful landing earlier in the week of its Starship Moon and Mars vehicle.
This particular flight is the very first to reach the 10th-usage of the booster Falcon 9, although Musk has said in the past that one of these days one will fail as his team pushes the Falcon 9 to – and beyond – its limit. There isn’t another rocket business on the planet which is even close to this degree of amortisation of its core assets.
SpaceX used the launch countdown preamble to say that Starlink’s broadband-by-satellite service was now available in Austria and France, as well as the South Island of New Zealand in addition to those areas already served which includes North America, the UK and Germany.
The first stage landed some 9 minutes after launch and was the 83rd successful landing of a Falcon 9. This time the flawless landing was on the “Just Read The Instructions” barge, and an eventual check-over and readied for its 11th flight.
Musk also guest-hosted Saturday Night Live from New York on NBC on May 8th.