Falcon 9 first stage launched a record 9th time
Another 60 Starlink satellites for SpaceX’s internet constellation lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket in a beautiful morning launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
At 6:01 a.m. EDT (10:01 UTC) March 14, 2021, the skies lit up from the light produced by the nine Merlin 1D engines at the base of Falcon 9 first stage booster core 1051 and its historic ninth flight to space earning it the title of most-flown Falcon 9 rocket booster to date. The satellites were deployed from the second stage just over an hour after liftoff.
The first stage landed successfully on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You,” located downrange in the Atlantic Ocean. Once the core returns to Port Canaveral, SpaceX will begin the process of refurbishing the rocket and preparing it for a 10th flight, likely sometime later this year.
Overall, this was the 22nd Falcon 9 launch dedicated to sending SpaceX’s massive Starlink constellation into space. The company expects to have about 12,000 satellites in low Earth orbit in its fully-operational state.
Starlink coverage is expected to continue to populate onto different platforms, as recently-indicated in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, by deploying Starlink satellite broadband to moving vehicles.
Within the application the company details plans for “Earth Stations in Motion,” ESIM, for aircraft, large vehicles such as trucks and recreational vehicles, as well as ships. SpaceX is requesting authorization from the FCC to operate these “Earth stations” throughout the United States and its territories, and international waters, as well as on both U.S. and non-U.S. aircraft operating in U.S. airspace.
“Granting this application would serve the public interest by authorizing a new class of ground-based components for SpaceX’s satellite system that will expand the range of broadband capabilities available to moving vehicles throughout the United States and to moving vessels and aircraft worldwide,” SpaceX told the FCC, as reported by Ars Technica.
According to SpaceX, “no longer are [internet] users willing to forego connectivity while on the move, whether driving a truck across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a U.S. port, or while on a domestic or international flight.”
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.