SpaceX Completes 3 Launches in Under 36 Hours, Sets Falcon 9 Reuse Record

SpaceX this week completed three launches in under 36 hours, with the third mission also being the first-ever 15th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket.

The company kicked off the back-to-back launches with NASA’s Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission to low-Earth orbit, which lifted off at 3:46 a.m. PT/6:46 a.m. ET on Friday, December 16, from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at the Vandenberg Space Force Base.

“SWOT is an internationally developed mission to conduct the first global survey of Earth’s surface water,” SpaceX said.

Next, the space exploration and transportation company launched the SES O3b mPOWER mission to medium-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 2:48 p.m. PT/5:48 p.m. ET on Friday, December 16.

You can watch the full SES O3b mPOWER mission launch below:

YouTube video

Less than 36 hours after NASA’s SWOT mission, SpaceX launched another rocket. At 1:32 p.m. PT/4:32 p.m. ET, a Falcon 9 carrying 54 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit lifted off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in what was a record 15th launch for a Falcon 9 rocket.

B1058, the Falcon 9 rocket used for this Starlink mission, previously supported 14 orbital launches that included Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, Transporter-3, and nine other Starlink missions.

You can watch SpaceX launch 54 Starlink satellites to orbit and set a new reuse record for Falcon 9 below:

YouTube video

Company CEO Elon Musk on Saturday congratulated the SpaceX team on achieving three “perfect orbital launches” within 36 hours.

As of earlier this week, SpaceX has over 3,000 Starlink satellites in operational positions across Earth’s orbit. The massive constellation is helping expand Starlink coverage globally, with the high-speed satellite broadband service now even available on select airlines.