SpaceX Sets New Record with 18th Flight of Falcon 9 Booster
SpaceX continues its streak of accomplishments in the realm of space exploration. The renowned private spaceflight company has once again broken a re-flight record by successfully launching 23 more Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 booster. This marks the booster’s 18th flight, a remarkable milestone for the company.
The mission, named Starlink 6-26, took off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The 23 Starlink V2 Mini satellites were sent to low Earth orbit, bringing the total number of Starlink satellites launched in 2023 to an impressive 1,711.
Impressively, the booster used for this mission, tail number B1058, is currently the oldest operating Falcon 9 booster. It first took flight on May 30, 2020, and has since been a key player in numerous successful missions. Among its notable achievements, it was the vehicle used for the first flight of the Commercial Crew Program with astronauts on board. This historic event transported former NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on the Demo-2 mission.
After the successful liftoff, the booster made an equally impressive landing on the droneship called ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas.’ This marked SpaceX’s 152nd orbital launch from SLC-40 and the site’s 207th overall launch.
While celebrating this accomplishment, SpaceX is also diligently preparing for another crucial mission at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The mission, CRS-29, has faced several delays due to an issue with one of the Draco thrusters on the Cargo Dragon spacecraft. NASA has identified a leak of nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer in a Draco thruster valve, necessitating the replacement of the thruster. Currently, the CRS-29 mission is scheduled for launch on November 9th at 8:28 p.m. EST.
SpaceX’s relentless pursuit of innovation and record-breaking achievements has solidified its position as a leading player in the commercial space industry. As they continue to push boundaries and overcome challenges, their contributions to space exploration remain unmatched.