Falcon 9 booster flies record 10th time for Starlink mission
An early morning launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket filled the Florida skies as the company continues its aggressive pace of global internet coverage.
At 2:42 a.m. EDT (06:42 UTC) May 9, 2021, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40, the Falcon 9 rocketed skyward to deliver 60 Starlink internet satellites into low Earth orbit.
The company has received over 500,000 orders for its satellite-beamed internet service as reported by SpaceX Operations Engineer Siva Bharadvaj during the launch broadcast of the company’s May 4 Starlink mission. Starlink is now the world’s largest constellation with more around 1600 spacecraft in orbit so far.
Today’s liftoff was also the first 10th flight of a Falcon 9 first stage booster, B1051, making this the 59th flight of a Falcon 9 with a flight-proven booster to date. It was the 27th dedicated Starlink mission, 11 of which have occurred this year alone. B1051 was first used to send the unpiloted Crew Dragon mission, Demo-1, into space for SpaceX and NASA in March 2019.
After the first 2.5 minutes of flight, the first stage separated from the second stage. Less than 10 minutes after liftoff, booster B1051 successfully landed on the drone ship “Just Read The Instructions” located some 380 miles (613 kilometers) downrange. The fairing halves were also expected to be recovered by SpaceX support ship Sheila Bordelon, staged in the same general area of the company’s drone ship.
Both ships and their rocket cargo are expected to return to Port Canaveral in Florida so they can be processed and refurbished for presumably another flight.
The 60 Starlink satellites, meanwhile, were successfully deployed into orbit by the second stage just over an hour after leaving Florida. Over the coming weeks, they’ll gradually spread out and begin to maneuver toward their final orbital positions.
Video courtesy of SpaceX
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.