Spaceflight Insider

Ninth-flown Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink internet satellites

SpaceX launches 60 Starlink internet satellites on May 4, 2021, using a first stage on its ninth flight. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

SpaceX launches 60 Starlink internet satellites on May 4, 2021, pressing a Falcon 9 first stage into service for its ninth flight and successful recovery. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Less than a week after the last Starlink satellite launch, SpaceX sent an additional 60 high-speed internet satellites into orbit using a Falcon 9 first stage booster flying for the ninth time.

At 3:01 p.m. EDT (19:01 UTC) May 4, 2021, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched another 60 Starlink internet satellites as the company continues its march toward global internet connectivity and coverage.

Falcon 9 B-1049-9. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Falcon 9 Booster B1049.9. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

The first stage for this mission, core B1049-9, was recovered successfully by SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” staged around 380 miles (613 kilometers) downrange and was supported by the ship GO Quest. The fairing halves were also expected to be recovered by one of the company fleet’s newest addition, a contracted recovery vessel named “Shelia Bordelon.”

In the coming days, SpaceX’s recovery vessels will return to Port Canaveral on Florida’s Space Coast where historically the fairings and booster are prepped for transport back the company’s Florida facility for reconditioning and eventual reuse.

This is the 13th launch for SpaceX in 2021 and the second “ninth flight” of a Falcon 9 first stage booster. SpaceX Starlink V1.0 L25 is the 25th operational Starlink mission bringing the total number of Starlink satellites launched to date to 1,565.

A Federal Communications Commission filing recognizes this launch as “Starlink RF mission 2-2, RF.” The radio frequency, or RF, implies these satellites may not have the inter-satellite function for laser communication links.

At this time only higher altitudes are fully covered and in service as populations in lower latitudes are only able to pre-order services.

The next Starlink launch is currently expected to fly no earlier than May 9, 2021. It’ll be using the first stage core B1051-10, which could be the first time SpaceX attempts to fly the same Falcon 9 first stage for a 10th time.

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.

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