SpaceX Sets New Falcon 9 Flight Record

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 for the 21st time from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This launch broke their previous record by occurring just 35 days after the last launch. The booster, also known as Booster 1062, quickly returned to flight and helped deliver 23 V2 mini Starlink satellites to orbit. This achievement highlights SpaceX’s capability to rapidly refurbish their fleet flight leaders.

The 23 Starlink satellites, part of Group 6-59, were launched to the Southeast with a 43-degree orbital inclination, consistent with prior Group 6 missions. Following a brief lull in launches due to maintenance on the droneship, ‘Just Read the Instructions,’ it is now back in action and heading towards the next landing zone for a Starlink launch. Booster 1062 set the new launch record with a sunset local time liftoff, allowing for clear visibility of both the first stage and the nose cone fairings. The successful recovery of these components was aided by cold gas thrusters, enabling them to orient themselves for re-entry into the atmosphere.

Booster 1062 made its 21st landing on the droneship ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ just under eight and a half minutes after liftoff. Additionally, Elon Musk shared a post capturing Falcon’s journey to orbit as seen from the ocean, offering a stunning view of the launch. Looking ahead, SpaceX has a busy week planned with a classified payload launch for the National Reconnaissance Office scheduled for May 22nd from California. This will be followed by back-to-back Starlink launches from Florida on May 22nd and May 23rd, pending weather and technical considerations.

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