So far in January, SpaceX has launched three Falcon 9 rockets, two of which broke the 10 flight milestone. Both of these milestone-breaking missions took place just in the last week.
Transporter 3: First high flight number booster on a commerical mission
Transporter-3 launched 105 payloads into a polar orbit from SLC-40 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. While last year we were amazed by SpaceX launching south out of Florida, this year (while still awesome), it’s now routine. It’s crazy how SpaceX can make amazing feats feel routine.
The booster that took this mission down the coast of Florida was B1058, the fan-favorite Worm booster. Initially launched back in 2020 to lift the first crewed mission for SpaceX, it sports the iconic NASA Worm logo along the side. Now we only see that logo on the Falcon 9’s second stage, so it’s always special to see B1058 fly.
SpaceX launches its second Falcon 9 of the year, Transporter-3. Credit: Jared Locke / Space Explored
While the Transporter program is part of SpaceX, this is considered a commercial launch, marking the first time a booster this far in its life has been used for one. We’ve already seen the switch with commercial and defense missions alike using flight-proven boosters rather than the traditional factory new ones.
Another Starlink, another booster reuse milestone
After a delay due to the Floridian weather, SpaceX launched its third mission of 2022 yesterday. While Starlink missions in the past have seemed repetitive and unnewsworthy, this mission gave us another unique southernly trajectory launch and 10 flight milestone.
The majority of Starlinks have followed a traditional northeast route out of Cape Canaveral, but Starlink Group 4-6 went south, not as far south as Transporter-3 but enough for it to be noticeable. Onboard were 49 Starlink satellites headed to continue SpaceX’s build-out of its internet constellation, now over 2000 total launched.
SpaceX’s third launch of 2022 was another Starlink mission. Credit: SpaceX
Both Transporter-3 and Starlink 4-6’s booster hit the 10 flight milestone. A number that original was believed to be the lifespan of the Falcon 9 first stage. However, now we have seen the rocket boosters go further, with SpaceX waiting to see what will need better refurbishment and what fails.
Featured Image: Derek Wise / Space Explored