Record-Breaking SpaceX Launch: Falcon 9 Soars on Remarkable 18th Mission

SpaceX’s latest launch saw 23 Starlink satellites added to its constellation, thanks to the successful deployment of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. What makes this launch even more impressive is that the Falcon 9 booster used for this mission, named B1058, was flying for the 18th time – a record-breaking feat.

The liftoff took place on Friday at 8:37 p.m. ET from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. B1058 carried the 23 Starlink satellites to their destination in low Earth orbit, marking another milestone for SpaceX.

B1058 has quite the storied history as it’s one of the Falcon 9 boosters that made history by launching NASA astronauts to the International Space Station back in May 2020. This launch marked the return of U.S. astronauts launching from American soil on an American-made rocket for the first time since NASA retired the Space Shuttle in 2011.

Since that groundbreaking launch, B1058 has continued to impress by successfully launching various missions, including 13 Starlink missions, 2 Transporter missions, 1 dedicated communication satellite mission, and 1 resupply mission to the ISS. In total, this booster has played a crucial role in delivering 844 satellites to orbit.

After its most recent mission, B1058 made a successful landing on the droneship named ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas.’ It then returned to Port Canaveral to be prepared for its potential 19th flight. Interestingly, SpaceX managed to refurbish the booster in just 45 days between its 17th and 18th flights, indicating their efficient refurbishment process for experienced boosters in their fleet.

SpaceX has been maintaining a high frequency of launches, but that hasn’t stopped their progress on the construction of a new Crew tower. This tower will enable NASA and SpaceX to launch astronauts or resupply missions from either LC-39A or SLC-40. Over the past few months, sections of the tower have been relocated from the build area next to Hangar X to SLC-40, with construction taking place in between launches.

The goal is to have the tower ready for launches in 2024, starting with resupply missions to the ISS. However, given SpaceX’s agility, they may potentially launch a crewed mission sooner than expected.

Looking ahead, SpaceX has several missions lined up for this week. This includes another Starlink mission from Florida, scheduled for tomorrow at 11 p.m. ET, a Transporter mission from California on the 9th at 1:47 p.m. PT, and the CRS-29 resupply mission to the ISS from LC-39A at 8:28 p.m. ET.

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