SpaceX successfully launched the first batch of 60 Starlink Internet satellites within the Starlink 16 mission this year using a Falcon 9 rocket, updating two records at the same time – one for rocket reusability (it’s the rocket’s 8th flight) and one for rocket reuse (38 days).
On January 20, SpaceX launched the sixteenth batch of 60 satellites into orbit. During this launch, SpaceX used and landed the same first stage of the Falcon 9 Booster B1051 for the eighth time. The current version of the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket is designed in such a way that it can be reused up to 10 times with minimal maintenance between flights and up to 100 times with partial replacement of first stage parts.
The Falcon 9 rocket launched from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 8:02 a.m. EST (1302 GMT).
According to the already worked out scheme, two and a half minutes later, the first stage separated, and in the ninth minute after launch, it landed on the Just Read the Instructions offshore platform in the Atlantic Ocean.
With this launch, the Starlink satellite constellation has increased to 1,015 items.
At the end of October 2020, the Starlink project entered the stage of closed beta testing. The program started on October 27 and is now limited to the northern part of the United States and the southern part of Canada. The speed reaches 175 Mbps with delays from 20 to 40 ms, and the service works stably even in harsh weather.