SpaceX on Tuesday held the 11th launch of the Falcon 9 this year. The rocket, equipped with a completely new first stage, delivered the 3.7-ton GPS III satellite into orbit, designed to improve navigation services. The customer of the mission, the US aerospace forces, was completely satisfied with the result and even allowed the reuse of the first stage.
“The successful launch of GPS III SV03 and the return of the first stage is another step in our movement with industry partners to create innovative, flexible and affordable services to achieve the goals of the NSSL mission and ensure US dominance in space”“Said Launch Enterprise Director Colonel Robert Bongiovi.
The successful launch of SpaceX allows the company to fit into the declared plan for 22 missions in this calendar year – if there are no unforeseen difficulties, this will be a new record for it. The previous milestone in 21 launch was taken by SpeceX in 2018. But more importantly, the company Ilona Mask is doing very well in a global pandemic that has slowed down work in many other industries.
One more curious fact should be noted. The eleven launches of SpaceX in 2020 correspond to the total number of space launches conducted this year by Russia, the EU and Japan combined. And in the global standings, the company now ranks second after China, which this year launched 15 orbital launches, two of which, however, were unsuccessful.
Much of SpaceX’s activity during the pandemic was provided by its own payload. Over the first half of the year, Elon Musk launched seven Starlink missions, bringing nearly 420 of its mini-satellites into low Earth orbit. The company is confidently moving forward in the hope of deploying limited commercial Internet services by the end of this or the beginning of next year.
If catastrophe does not happen, it seems SpaceX will easily launch another dozen or even more Falcon 9 rockets by the end of the year. The company already plans to have at least 18 launches, including half a dozen Starlink missions, a second Crew Dragon mission, delivery to the International Space Station, and several commercial missions. The next launch may take place in a week, on July 8, – the Starlink-9 mission.
Thanks to the successful return of the first stage after launch on Tuesday, SpaceX now has at its disposal the five first stages. Of these, the most interesting is the fate of the Booster 1049 step. It has already worked 5 times since September 2018, and by the end of July it may be ready for the sixth flight.
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