Mars’ launch marked the rocket’s seventh flight back and forth into space – SpaceX was the first such vehicle to fly into orbit.
Falcon 9 took off from the launch site of SpaceX at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, with 60 Starlink satellites. After a quick flight into space, the first stage of the Falcon 9 – the bulk of the vehicle with the main engines and most of the fuel – was separated from the rest of the rocket and returned to Earth. It made one of SpaceX’s’ signature rocket landings by touching one of the company’s drones in the Atlantic Ocean.
Prior to this flight, the Falcon 9 had launched two communications satellites to orbit on two different missions, and the SpaceX vehicle was used to launch four separate Starlink launches. Either way, this is not the only rocket that has flown before. The Nosecon of the rocket orbiting the satellites while in space was used before the previous aircraft. Half of the nozzle – or payload fairing – flowed before, and the other half flew twice before this launch.
Now, SpaceX has made this launch and landing routine a regular sight from Florida, adding numbers to each new mission resume. Last night’s launch was SpaceX’s 100th ever Falcon 9 launch. It marked the company’s 23rd launch this year. For the 67th time, SpaceX has reclaimed one of its Falcon 9 boosters.
These numbers are expected to increase, with more launches this year. With yesterday’s rocket successfully landing, the eighth aircraft will be in the future.