In addition to the historic launch and landing, SpaceX managed to catch just one half of the nose cone that safeguarded the 58 Starlink satellites and 3 satellites belonging to Earth-imagery business Planet as they blasted through the environment. Tuesday's Starlink launch marks the sixth time SpaceX has used the first stage booster for a mission, the most uses of a SpaceX booster. For spaceflight enthusiasts, however, the controversial Starlink satellites aren't actually the main event here. Based on SpaceX's activity in the last eight months, the company could feasibly complete another 7-9 launches, of which 4-5 would likely be Starlink missions. The company launched its eleventh batch of satellites earlier this week and now operates over 600 satellites in low-Earth orbit.
It's now in the process of a very capital-intensive endeavor, too, which could explain the size of the round: deploying Starlink, the massive satellite constellation that it will own and operate, and that will provide commercial and residential broadband internet services to customers in hard to reach areas once it's active. SpaceX plans to use the constellation of satellites to provide high-speed internet access worldwide.
Planet said it has sent more than 100 satellites into orbit - some the size of a shoebox - collecting nearly 100 million square miles of imagery daily. However, although the mission to be done today was the same as the other Starlink missions, it also had a special point. In April, Falcon 9 B1048 became the first booster to launch five times, although an engine failure prevented a landing attempt.
Digital Trends reported that this is no ordinary launch by the Space Explorations Technologies Corp., more commonly known as SpaceX.
Following stage separation, SpaceX's Falcon 9 first stage landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. But it's also significant because it involves SpaceX's most advanced realization of its rocket reusability program to date. Aspects of SpaceX's Starlink tests located within the supply code of the company's web-site unveiled that beta-screening will commence in rural Washington and then broaden to the northern United States and southern Canada.
Following the excitement of the launch and the multiple recoveries, focus shifted into orbit.