With the launch of its thirteenth Starlink mission of 2020, SpaceX successfully completed its 100th mission aboard a Falcon rocket since the first took to the sky in September 2008.
The flight-proven Falcon 9 was launched from Cape Canaveral at 15:31 UTC on October 24 carrying 60 more satellites for the company’s Starlink constellation, a network of communication satellites in low Earth orbit that will offer global broadband connectivity.
Following a successful launch, the rocket’s booster was recovered for a third time touching down on the Just Read the Instructions droneship stationed in the Atlantic. Approximately one hour later, all 60 satellites drifted safely away from the rocket’s upper stage.
The launch was the 100th mission SpaceX has launched aboard the company’s Falcon rockets.
The first two missions were completed aboard Falcon 1 rockets in 2008 and 2009. Apart from three Falcon Heavy missions launched between 2018 and 2019, the rest have been launched aboard the company’s workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9.
Over its more than a decade of launch operations, SpaceX has forged the path for reusability. The company remains the only launch provider recovering and reusing rocket boosters, a capability that several companies around the world are currently trying to replicate.
Of its 100 successful Falcon flights, SpaceX has recovered 63 boosters and re-flown boosters 45 times. Just this year, SpaceX has successfully launched two boosters on a sixth mission recovering both safely following the momentous flights.
In addition to being the market leader in reusability, the Falcon 9 rocket has become the most-flown operational rocket in the United States, having overtaken stalwarts like the Atlas V and Delta IV by more than 10 missions.