Tuesday's SpaceX Starlink satellite ride share will set a new record – CNET

The booster set to fly Tuesday has been used five times before.


SpaceX

When SpaceX sends its latest batch of Starlink broadband satellites and a few of Planet’s Earth-observing metal birds to orbit this week, it will raise the bar once again for rocket recycling. 

The Falcon 9 booster that Elon Musk’s space company is currently set to launch on Tuesday morning has previously flown on three earlier Starlink missions, as well as two commercial satellite delivery gigs. That means its flight this week will be its sixth, a new mark for a single orbital rocket. 

“Some big milestones coming up,” Musk said on Twitter, referring to the sixth flight of the booster (serial number B-1049) and the 100th mission for SpaceX over the company’s history. 

Obviously, the Falcon 9 first stage could actually set two new records on the same day, by first launching for the sixth time and then landing for the sixth time, which it will attempt on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean.

The launch is set for Tuesday morning at 7:31 a.m. PT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. As of Monday morning, the weather forecast had an 80 percent chance of being favorable for launch. 

In addition to attempting a historic launch and landing, SpaceX will try to catch both halves of the nose cone that will protect 58 Starlink satellites and three belonging to Earth-imagery company Planet as they blast through the atmosphere. SpaceX has just recently perfected its method for retrieving these components, and we’ll see if it can make a habit of it and continue to expand its recycling program.

This will mark the 11th launch of a batch of Starlink satellites, the most recent happening on Aug. 7. The next one after this week’s is set for September, and will be preceded by a Falcon 9 launch in late August of a Argentinian satellite that was originally scheduled for a 2019 liftoff.  

As usual, SpaceX will livestream the mission, and you can watch via the feed above.

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