SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Makes History: 112 Successful Flights in a Row
On Thursday at 1:13 p.m. EST, SpaceX successfully launched 49 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, aboard its trusty and reliable Falcon 9 rocket.
This was the third and last launch of the week by SpaceX, with Falcon 9’s first stage landing on the drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas with surgical precision, right in the centre.
The successful Starlink mission today has resulted in a new milestone for SpaceX, points out Eric Berger from ArsTechnica—it has become possibly the safest rocket ever launched:
Speaking of safety, this is where the Falcon 9 rocket has really shone of late. Since the Amos-6 failure during its static fire test, SpaceX has completed a record-setting run of 111 successful Falcon 9 missions in a row. It probably will be 112 after Thursday.
There are only two other rockets with a string of successful flights comparable to the Falcon 9. One is the Soyuz-U variant of the Russian rocket, which launched 786 times from 1973 to 2017. The other is the American Delta II rocket, which recently retired. (Eventually, the Atlas V rocket could also exceed 100 consecutive successes before its retirement later this decade.)
Watching every Falcon 9 launch is as exciting as the first time–it’s always incredible seeing the first stage separate and land itself autonomously back on earth, or on a floating football field in the ocean.
Elon Musk recognized Berger’s fact on Thursday, by saying, “congrats SpaceX Falcon team!”.
Congrats SpaceX Falcon team! https://t.co/ZplhTv0QcH
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2022
Today was the 144th launch of a Falcon rocket, said SpaceX. Today’s Falcon 9 booster was flying for its sixth time, while the successful landing resulted in the 106th recovery of an orbital class rocket for the company.
Earlier on Thursday, Musk announced there will be a presentation next week to share an update on its Starship rocket, set for February 10 at 8pm EST.