Photo: Kevin Quick // Spaceflight News
This morning at 9:56am ET, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) in Cape Canaveral, FL, carrying another batch of 60 Starlink satellites into Low Earth Orbit. This Falcon 9 included a reused first stage as well as a pair of reused fairings, which were recovered from the sea from the Falcon Heavy ArabSat-6A mission. The first stage was previously flown on the Iridium-7, SAOCOM-1A, and Nusantara Satu missions, making this the first time SpaceX has reused a first stage booster 4 times. The first stage also successfully landed on the droneship “Of Course I Still love You” (OCISLY) roughly 8 minutes after launch, stationed out in the Atlantic Ocean.
Now that the satellites have been deployed, they will begin maneuvering to a higher orbit by performing various orbit raising burns. These burns will take place after SpaceX engineers assess the data from the satellites, making sure they are operating properly. Any satellites that aren’t working as intended will safely deorbit over time and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. Following the orbit raises, the satellites will start to become operational and ready for use.