SpaceX: Marking the 14th launch of SpaceX only in 2021, last Sunday (9) a Falcon 9 rocket placed 60 Starlink satellites in orbit, complementing the “constellation” of more than 1,600 of them. Then, the equipment landed successfully in the sea and broke a record, since it was the first to reach double digits of flights, a total of 10, celebrated Elon Musk.
This was also the second time that the company used the same device (B1051) in the same week – and its journey lasted approximately nine minutes, providing a real spectacle for those who could follow everything closely, given the favorable weather conditions during the event.
In addition to him, another veteran, B1049, is tracing an impressive path, as he completed his ninth mission also in the last week.
Returning to the B1051, the rocket made its debut in 2019 as part of a test flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew program. It has since launched at least three Earth observation satellites to Canada, a broadband satellite for Sirius-XM and has participated in seven different Starlink missions.
Together with others who have several trips on their résumés, SpaceX now uses it only for transporting devices, taking it to its limits while learning about the wear and tear it presents with each successful journey.
On the edge!
While SpaceX carried out 26 rocket launches in 2020, last month completed its third astronaut mission in less than a year, having last transported four people to the International Space Station with Crew-2 – the first with a rocket reused.
In total, the company has already reached the mark of 118 general flights with Falcon 9 devices, of which 64 used equipment that was not new – the case of all actions in 2021. Important improvements, such as a more robust thermal protection system, interstage more durable, titanium grid fins and more powerful engines, made this possible.
Finally, still in the beta phase, Starlink – worldwide internet coverage – currently serves few users on the planet, but there is a waiting list with more than 500 thousand interested parties and the expectation of commercial launch during the the next few months.