SpaceX launches 60 new Starlink satellites to orbit, nails rocket landing at sea
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lit up the predawn sky early this morning (March 11) as it carried a new batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit, before nailing its landing on a floating platform at sea.
This latest liftoff marked SpaceX's seventh mission of 2021 and the company's 21st 60-satellite Starlink launch overall. It starred one of the better known Falcon 9 first stages in the fleet — B1058.
The veteran launcher also delivered a cargo Dragon spacecraft to the ISS, a communications satellite for South Korea's military and the most satellites ever launched on a single mission (Transporter-1). Today, B1058 carried its second stack of Starlink satellites.
The predawn spectacle marked the 110th overall flight of a Falcon 9 rocket and the 56th reflight of a Falcon 9 first stage. It was the sixth mission for this particular booster, and SpaceX set a new record for fastest turnaround time for a rocket with this many flights under its belt.
B1058 last flew on Jan. 24, and it blasted off again from the same launch pad this morning, just 45 days later; the previous record for such a veteran booster was 59 days.