It was only last weekend that SpaceX earned a round of applause from NASA after astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley successfully traveled to the International Space Station as a part of the commercial space company’s Demo-2 mission, but that didn’t stop SpaceX from moving forward with yet another Falcon 9 rocket launch just this past week.
On Wednesday, June 3rd at 9:25 P.M. Eastern time, SpaceX ignited the nine Merlin engines of a second Falcon 9 rocket residing at Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, this time to ferry 60 more Starlink satellites into orbit around the Earth to reinforce the company’s growing internet satellite constellation. The launch appeared to go as flawlessly as anyone could have hoped for.
Worthy of note, this particular Falcon 9 booster had flown four times previously, making it only the second of SpaceX’s own rocket fleet to fly five times in a row following a series of refurbishments. Perhaps more impressively, however, this booster landed successfully on the drone ship ‘Just Read the Instructions’ stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, therefore becoming the first Falcon 9 booster to land five times in a row.
Starlink aims to bring high-speed, low-latency internet to the entire globe, even to places where internet isn’t currently available. The concept has received plenty of criticism from both amateur and professional astronomers who now worry that the satellite constellation will obstruct important scientific observations of the cosmos. Engineers are now continuously working on ways to reduce the satellites’ reflectiveness, but it remains to be seen if this will have any impact on observations or not.
Related: How reusable is a Falcon 9 rocket?