Spaceflight Insider

SpaceX successfully launches Booster for the sixth time

First stage booster 1049.6 powers a SpaceX Falcon 9 off of the pad at SLC 40, carrying a mixed payload of Starlink and SkySat satellites into orbit on August 18, 2020. Photo: Theresa Cross

On August 18 at 10:31 a.m. EDT, SpaceX successfully launched the latest batch of 58 corporate satellites from Cape Canaveral Florida, destined to become part of their growing Starlink constellation. In addition to their satellites, SpaceX also carried three Planet Labs earth observation satellites, which were successfully deployed as part of the missions rideshare program. These three hi-resolution satellites will complement Planet Labs’ fleet of SkySats already in orbit, some of which also launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in June.  

Hundreds of gallons of water flood the SLC 40 launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, dampening the potentially damaging sound energy generated by the 9 Merlin engines during this August 18, 2020 launch. Photo: Theresa Cross, SpaceFlight Insider

Today’s launch marked several milestones for the company, such as the first sixth-flight of a booster, B1049, and the 40th recovery of a first stage. Most notably however is that this launch marks the 100th mission in the revolutionary spaceflight company’s history.

As part of the mission, the booster successfully landed on board the autonomous drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You”, and is expected to be re-flown for a seventh time later this year. SpaceX also succeeded in catching one fairing half, the other making a soft water landing and later being recovered, through the use of their twin fairing recovery ships “Go Ms. Tree” and “Go Ms. Chief”.

The success of this mission brings the Starlink constellation member count to over 650 satellites, with initial end-user beta testing already underway. Starlink is targeting full service for the US and Canada in late 2020, with plans to expand worldwide coverage by 2021, allowing for access to high speed broadband internet to under served areas where previously it was unavailable, costly or unreliable.

Falcon 9 in flight, following the 10:31 a.m. EDT liftoff on August 18, 2020. Photo: Theresa Cross, SpaceFlight Insider

Falcon 9 in flight, following the 10:31 a.m. EDT liftoff on August 18, 2020. Photo: Theresa Cross, SpaceFlight Insider

A transonic Falcon 9 rocket passes through light clouds, following its 10:31 a.m. EDT liftoff on August 18, 2020. Photo: Theresa Cross, SpaceFlight Insider


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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