SpaceX's 100th Launch Breaks Rocket Reusability Record, 11th Starlink Mission
SpaceX successfully launched its 100th mission today, with a Falcon 9 booster rocket seeing its sixth reuse — another record, and the 92nd Falcon 9 launch.
The launch happened at 10:31 AM EDT on August 18, live-streamed on YouTube, and carried the latest Starlink mission into space.
UPDATE August 18, 10:44 AM EDT: SkySats successfully deployed
All three SkySats were successfully deployed on Tuesday. Deployment of all three SkySats was confirmed as part of SpaceX's service to Planet, a rideshare customer. These three SkySats are joining 18 other ones already in orbit.
Together they will complete the fleet of 21 high-resolution satellites, capable of imaging a single location up to 12 times per day, according to the SpaceX live stream.
UPDATE August 18, 10:40 AM EDT: First-stage Falcon 9 successfully returns to Earth
The first-stage booster completed its sixth mission on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean at 10:40 AM EDT. This also marked the Falcon 9's sixth successful return to Earth. Sky Satellites will deploy shortly.
SpaceX Launching 100th mission, 6th reuse of Falcon 9
This marks the highest recorded number of reused commercial flights for any private company. If weather permits, the Falcon 9 will lift 58 Starlink satellites, along with three Planet satellites today.
This is the 11th mission to send Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO), due to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida, according to SpaceX's website. As the 11th Starlink launch yet, these satellites will achieve LEO and then spend several weeks navigating toward an operational altitude of 342 miles (roughly 550 km).
The mission will carry rideshare payloads and SkySats numbers 19 through 21, riding atop the Starlink stack. The Falcon 9 booster is expected to return to Earth on an autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) "Of Course I Still Love You" roughly 46 minutes following liftoff.
With so many records on the line, space enthusiasts and loyal SpaceX fans alike have much to anticipate as we the latest Starlink batch maneuvers into LEO.