SpaceX has successfully launched 60 Starlink Internet satellites into orbit on the 3rd of June. Then they also hit success with the rocket landing at sea. This launch is the second one in five days for the company. On the 30th of May, the Falcon 9 rocket brought NASA astronaut Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station with the help of a Crew Dragon capsule, nailing the Demo-2 mission. They arrived at the station 19 hours later, and they will remain there for four months.
The mission of today was done with the help of a veteran member of SpaceX. We’re talking about Falcon 9, which had already flown four times before the mission of today. It had lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. You could see the previous trips on its white exterior.
The rocket used today is the second Falcon 9 first stage to fly for five times. It has previously launched two other Starlink missions and a series of Iridium NEXT satellites, and a Canadian communications satellite.
The first attempt of SpaceX to fly a booster five times did not go great. In the first phase, in which they launched 60 Starlink satellites in March, they had problems with an engine when it went towards the sky. It went to orbit as planned, but then it missed its landing, and it was destroyed.
After the incident, they did an investigation, which showed that a residual cleaning agent got trapped in the engine, which is what caused the anomaly. SpaceX has learned its lesson, and now it uses changed procedures.