On August 11, 2023, SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 22 Starlink satellites into orbit on booster B1069; this mark marked its ninth flight and set a record for most flights by a Falcon 9 fairing half.
It landed on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions eight and a half minutes post-launch, with fairings parachute-landing back down to Earth and recovering by SpaceX ships.
SpaceX successfully launched its 55th launch of 2018 and fourth launch within eight days, continuing its busy August schedule with four more scheduled missions.
B1069 is one of the most experienced Falcon 9 boosters in SpaceX’s fleet, having flown missions to both the International Space Station and Starlink satellites. Although this booster experienced some damage after its initial landing attempt, SpaceX managed to repair it quickly, so it has flown flawlessly.
Fairings on this mission were also noteworthy, with one fairing half flying 11 times to set a new record for most flights by a Falcon 9 fairing half. Meanwhile, the other had flown ten times.
SpaceX continues pushing its reusable launch vehicles’ limits and making spaceflight more affordable and accessible. These record-setting launches represent yet another step toward that goal.
SpaceX made some intriguing choices during this mission in addition to its successful launch, such as equipping its fairings without drag chutes – typically used to slow their descent – which marked a first for them, and it proved successful.
SpaceX is expanding its Starlink constellation. They have deployed over 4,900 Starlink satellites and plan to add even more over time. Starlink was designed to bring high-speed internet to people worldwide and has already had an enormously beneficial effect in rural and remote regions around the globe.
SpaceX achieved another major success with this launch, fulfilling its goal to make spaceflight more affordable and accessible.