SpaceX Falcon 9 breaks record, launches and lands for 16th time

B1058 launching Starlink satellites to orbit (Credit Richard Angle)

Launching July 9th, at 11:58 p.m. ET (03:58 UTC), the record-breaking Falcon 9 successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to deliver 22 V2 mini Starlink satellites to orbit.

Originally intending to launch just before dawn Sunday morning local time, SpaceX pushed the launch time a couple of times while weather cleared the area, before launching the Starlink Group 6-5 mission.

The 22 advanced V2 mini Starlink satellites were launched on a South East Trajectory into a 43-degree orbital inclination. The satellites were deployed just over an hour after launching from the Space Coast. Following the deployment, 4,768 Starlink satellites have now been sent into orbit by SpaceX.

While only 22 of the V2 mini-satellites were launched, these are able to provide up to 4x more capacity than the older versions of the satellite. The Starlink network now has over 1.5 million users, so the increased capacity is needed while they bring the Starship program up to speed which will eventually launch the larger full-size V2 Starlink satellites.

The first stage launching this mission was the record-breaking Booster 1058 on its 16th launch. This booster first launched the Demo-2 mission for NASA, reviving the ability to send U.S. astronauts to space from America for the first time in years. B1058 would go on to launch multiple commercial payloads and now 11 Starlink missions. This booster has sent 2 NASA astronauts, a total of 617 Starlink satellites to orbit, and 243 commercial payloads thanks in part to them being on Transporter rideshare missions.

SpaceX recently gave the green light to fly flight-proven boosters that had made it to 15 missions and will again re-evaluate once boosters hit the 20 launch mark. Elon Musk has said he would like to see the Falcon 9 be able to launch up to 100 times and with the proper refurbishment, it appears the Falcon 9 will be more than capable.

Also being re-used on this mission were the fairing halves, with both halves flying for the 9th time, representing another significant saving for the company.

Catch the replay of the mission below!

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SpaceX Falcon 9 breaks record, launches and lands for 16th time
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