With the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday night at Cape Canaveral, SpaceX hopes to start launching satellites for its Starlink internet network, and company founder Elon Musk says the company will use the large backlog of Starlink missions to keep pushing the envelope and discover the Falcon booster’s reuse life limit.
After more than 50 active SpaceX reused Falcon rocket flights since 2017, NASA engineers officially certified Falcon 9 previously-flown first stage to carry astronauts. Musk said, “You probably don’t want to be on a life leader for a crewed mission, but it’s probably good to have a flight or two under its belt, for the booster to have flown once or twice.”
Following a brief hiatus in Starlink launches to concentrate on the Crew Dragon mission, SpaceX is set to launch another 60 internet satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s pad 40 on Wednesday night. Since last June, the booster on Wednesday’s mission — tail number B1060 — has flown six times. Wednesday’s instantaneous launch opportunity is scheduled for 11:44 p.m. EDT (0344 GMT Thursday). A Falcon 9 launch with the next batch of Starlink satellites could happen as soon as next week from Kennedy Space Center’s pad 39A.