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SpaceX launches 23 satellites, completing 260th reflight of an orbital class rocket
SpaceX launches 23 satellites, completing 260th reflight of an orbital class rocket
by Adam Schrader
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 31, 2024

Elon Musk's SpaceX launched 23 satellites into low-Earth orbit on Saturday, completing the company's 260th re-flight of an orbital class rocket seven years after first achieving the act.

This means the company has successfully launched and landed a first-stage booster of a rocket like its Falcon 9 at least 260 times. The first stage of a rocket is the largest and most expensive part of it, and SpaceX has designed its Falcon 9 rocket's first stage to perform controlled descents back to landing pads or drone ships to be reused -- significantly reducing the cost of launching payloads into space.

"The design intent is that the rocket can be re-flown with zero hardware changes," Musk said in 2017, referring to the Falcon 9 first stage. The Falcon 9 rocket first launched in June 2010. "In other words, the only thing that changes is, you reload propellant."

At the time, Musk said a single Falcon 9 rocket could be reflown at least 100 times, adding: "Actually, really, we could make 1,000, but it probably isn't quite there. I'm being careful." The most number of times a single first-stage booster has flown stands at 16 times.

Still, the feat was celebrated by SpaceX fans, who joked that the rocket "seems safer than a Boeing."

That launch came just three hours after SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Eutelsat 36D geostationary telecommunications satellite, which will provide TV broadcasting and government services to customers in Africa, Europe and parts of Asia.

About three minutes into launch, Falcon 9 separated from the payload and touched down aboard the droneship Just Read the Instructions in the Atlantic Ocean at 6:01 p.m., marking the 259th reflight of a Falcon 9 rocket.

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SpaceX sends Eutelsat telecom satellite into orbit
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 30, 2024
SpaceX on Saturday launched a Falcon9 rocket supporting the Eutelstat 36D mission from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket took off at 5:52 p.m. EST, right at the open of a two-hour time window SpaceX had previously given for launch. The payload is a Eutelsat 36D geostationary telecommunications satellite, which is designed to provide TV broadcasting and government services to customers in Africa, Europe and parts of Asia. About three minutes into launch, Falcon 9 sepa ... read more

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