SpaceX launches three commercial plus more Starlink satellites

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully launched three commercial Earth reconnaissance satellites plus another 58 Starlink satellites.

They have now put 653 Starlink satellites into orbit.

The first stage, which was flying a record sixth time, successfully landed on its platform in the Atlantic. They also caught one of the fairing halves, and are retrieving the second half out of the ocean. Both fairings were also reused.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

19 China
13 SpaceX
9 Russia

The U.S. now leads China 21 to 19 in the national rankings.


  • Jay

    And it was SpaceX’s 100th launch!

  • Richard M

    Really amazing just how routine SpaceX is making it.

    They might cram in two dozen flights in 2020 if they keep this up.

  • TL

    Richard M beat me to that comment. They’ve made it so routine that landing a first stage on a relatively small rocking boat doesn’t even seem all that special anymore.

  • sippin_bourbon

    SpaceX has matched Blue Origins achievement of flying the same rocket 6 times.

    The fact that BO’s has only been sub-orbital, with long breaks in between for R&D work is important when compared to an orbital class booster that is delivering actual payloads.

    We have discussed the old school NASA methods vs SpaceX methods, in terms of R&D.
    It seems BO is on their own system as well, but I am not sure how to classify it. Slow and deliberate, yes, but exceedingly so, and with lower aims. I keep hoping to see some big leap forward, for no other reason that wanting to see more success, and greater competition.

  • LocalFluff

    Soyuz has the record in number of launches, 1680. But that’s during 55 years. And with about half the payload to LEO, expended, compared to a landed F9.

  • sippin_bourbon

    If I recall, one of SpaceX’s goals is to get 10 flights per booster?
    Does anyone know if that is still part of the plan?

  • pzatchok

    I can see them using the booster till it fails if all they are sending to orbit is their own satellites. If they are not risking anyone else’s stuff why stop at 10?

    Thats like saying your only going to drive your truck for 100,000 miles then retire it. If it runs fine, drives good and still looks like a truck why not go for 200,000 miles or more?

    The Falcon 9 is basically a pickup truck to space.

    They are testing the semi now.

  • sippin_bourbon

    For their own launches, (Starlinks), as opposed to contracted by NASA, why are they not selling ad space on the sides of the rockets? Or on the on the video feeds?

  • TL

    sippin_bourbon – “For their own launches, (Starlinks), as opposed to contracted by NASA, why are they not selling ad space on the sides of the rockets? Or on the on the video feeds?”

    My guesses on the lack of ads on the sides of the rockets would be a combination of “not enough potential income to worry about,” “detracts from whose rocket this is,” and “wouldn’t look pretty”. Pretty much the same reason commercial airlines don’t often paint advertisements on their jets.

    For the video feeds, those are themselves an ad for SpaceX. Selling ads inside your ad dilutes the message.

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