SpaceX sends up the same recycled rocket for a record sixth time
SpaceX’s rocket landings have now become so routine that it’s easy to forget such a thing had never been accomplished five years ago. Its engineers' recycling methods were in full swing again today, with the company sending up and welcoming back the same refurbished Falcon 9 rocket for a record sixth time.
The Falcon 9 used in today’s record-setting flight was loaded up with 58 of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites, along with three other satellites for imaging company Planet Labs.
The launch went off without a hitch, as did the deployment of all 61 satellites into orbit, before the first stage of the Falcon 9 came down to safely land on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship in the ocean.
Today’s mission also provided us with another look at one of SpaceX’s other rocket recovery techniques, which involves catching the two pieces of the protective fairing after they split in half and fall back to Earth. These are worth millions of dollars apiece, and last month the company managed to collect both pieces following a satellite launch by using vessels equipped with giant nets.
It didn’t quite find the same success this time around, with one ship catching one of the halves, but the other needing to make a soft landing in the ocean. On the plus side, the team did manage to capture an almost surreal video of the fairing floating back to Earth before safely nestling in the net, which CEO Elon Musk shared on Twitter.
Source: SpaceX (Twitter)