SpaceX rocket launches on record-tying 17th mission (Image Credit: Space.com)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched for a record-tying 17th time on Saturday night (Sept. 23).
The rocket’s first stage came back to Earth as planned, landing on a SpaceX drone ship at sea about 8.5 minutes after launch.
It was the 17th liftoff and landing for this Falcon 9 first stage, according to a SpaceX mission description. That tied the company’s reuse record, set just four days earlier by a different Falcon 9 on another Starlink launch.
The 22 Starlink satellites, meanwhile, deployed from the Falcon 9’s upper stage about 65 minutes after launch.
Starlink is SpaceX’s internet megaconstellation, which provides service to customers around the world.
Starlink currently consists of more than 4,750 operational satellites, and that number will continue to grow far into the future. SpaceX has approval to launch 12,000 of the broadband craft and has applied for permission for another 30,000 on top of that.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1 a.m. EDT on Sept. 24 with news of successful launch, rocket landing and satellite deployment.