SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had a lot to be excited about on Monday after his reusable rocket-oriented aerospace company set at least four different records with a single launch.
A launchpad at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base played host to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launch on Monday, which blasted off at approximately 1:34 P.M. Eastern time. Astonishingly, the rocket carried 64 satellites into space all at once – more than any other U.S.-made rocket before it.
Image Credit: SpaceX
But that’s not the only precedent SpaceX shattered on Monday. As it would seem, Monday’s Falcon 9 rocket also comprised of the very first booster to fly three times after two successful missions launched from Florida-based launch sites.
Moreover, this was the first Falcon 9 rocket booster to fly from every one of SpaceX’s launchpads, including launchpad 39A at Kennedy Space Center back in May, the Air Force Station Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral back in August, and now Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base just today.
But in addition to these Falcon 9-centric achievements, SpaceX as a company celebrated a significant milestone on Monday: the highest number of launches in a year. Monday’s launch signified the company’s 19th launch in 2018, and at least three more are scheduled to take place before 2019. Comparatively, SpaceX only launched 18 rockets last year.
This particular Falcon 9 rocket was carrying 49 MicroSats and 15 CubeSats in its cargo hold. Their small form-factors, when compared with full-sized satellites, made the high storage volume possible.
As you might come to expect, SpaceX attempted to land the spent booster upright immediately following its primary mission. It came down successfully on a drone ship shortly after the launch, but an attempt to catch the rocket’s spent fairing with a massive netted ship named “Mr. Steven” didn’t go so smoothly. The fairing landed in the water instead of the enormous net, but recovery efforts to repurpose the spent fairing in a future launch are currently underway.
If you’d like to watch the live stream of SpaceX’s historic launch on Monday, then you can tune in to the YouTube video below: