Launched From California, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Ties the 19-year Flying Record

On Thursday night (Feb. 22), SpaceX tied its record for the most rocket reuses.

At 11:11 p.m. EST (8:11 p.m. local California time; 04:11 GMT on February 23), a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 22 of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband satellites took out from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Thursday.

According to a SpaceX mission description, it was the 19th mission for this Falcon 9’s first stage, matching a record the company set on a Starlink launch this past December.

About 8.5 minutes after takeoff, the first stage of the Falcon 9 returned to Earth to land on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, which was positioned in the Pacific Ocean.

The booster will be hauled back to Earth by the ship for examination, repair, and—quite possibly—an further trip.

The 22 Starlink satellites were supposed to be sent into low Earth orbit (LEO) by the Falcon 9’s upper stage approximately 62 minutes after liftoff.

Customers from all over the world can access the internet with Starlink. There are currently over 5,400 operating spacecraft in the LEO megaconstellation, and that figure is constantly rising.

SpaceX’s launch tonight will occur on January 17, 2024. On Tuesday, February 20, Flight 16 launched an Indonesian communications satellite on a historic mission for SpaceX: it was the company’s 300th consecutive successful Falcon 9 launch.

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