A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 communication satellites launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this morning. The booster successfully landed on a drone ship at sea. SpaceX streamed an onboard view of the launch live. The video is below.
The flat-packed satellites will eventually become part of a web of more than 40,000 communications satellites that will beam internet service down to Earth. If that number sounds staggering, that’s because it is – There are roughly 2,000 satellites in orbit today.
The first stage of the rocket has flown to space before. Not once, not twice, but three times. Today marks the first time a Falcon 9 booster has made the journey on four occasions. SpaceX prepositioned their Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship to catch the booster again. After the successful landing, a SpaceX host suggested that the rocket might make a fifth journey.
For those who hoped to see SpaceX catch the fairing (nosecone) with a pair of ships outfitted with giant nets, the feat appears to have been called-off. The ships were spotted heading for Morehead City, NC Monday morning. The fairing for today’s mission was the second time it has flown. It previously encapsulated the Arabsat-6a satellite on a Falcon Heavy flight in April.