SpaceX continues to push the boundaries of space exploration, achieving yet another milestone by setting a new record for the number of flights in a single year. On the night of September 3rd, at 10:47 p.m. EDT (0247 GMT on September 4th), SpaceX successfully launched 21 Starlink internet satellites into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This remarkable achievement marked the company’s 62nd orbital mission of 2023, surpassing the previous record set in 2022.
A Year of Remarkable Accomplishments
Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, took to social media to acknowledge this significant milestone, tweeting, “Great work by the @SpaceX team successfully launching 61 Falcon rocket missions this year! If tomorrow’s mission goes well, we will exceed last year’s flight count. SpaceX has delivered ~80% of all Earth payload mass to orbit in 2023. China is ~10% & rest of the world other ~10%.”
This incredible achievement highlights SpaceX’s unwavering commitment to advancing space technology and providing reliable access to space. With the successful launch of the 21 Starlink satellites, SpaceX continues to expand its constellation, offering high-speed internet coverage to remote and underserved areas around the globe.
A Precision Landing
Not only did the launch mark a record-setting achievement, but it also showcased SpaceX’s expertise in rocket reusability. The Falcon 9’s first stage, after propelling the payload into space, made a precise return to Earth as planned. Approximately 8.5 minutes after liftoff, the booster gracefully touched down on the drone ship named “Just Read the Instructions,” stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Remarkably, this marked the 10th launch and landing for this particular booster, underscoring the company’s commitment to reducing the cost of space access through reusable rocket technology.
While the first stage of the Falcon 9 returned to Earth, the upper stage continued its mission. Approximately 65 minutes after liftoff, it successfully deployed the 21 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO). These satellites are part of SpaceX’s ambitious plan to create a global network providing fast and reliable internet access to people in even the most remote regions.
SpaceX’s dedication to expanding Starlink not only contributes to global connectivity but also generates revenue that can be reinvested in future space exploration endeavors, including missions to the Moon and Mars.
A Multifaceted Day for SpaceX
In addition to the record-setting launch, SpaceX had another significant event on this momentous day. The company successfully brought home the four astronauts of its Crew-6 mission, who had been aboard the International Space Station (ISS) since March. This demonstrates SpaceX’s versatility and its ability to execute both crewed missions and satellite deployments with precision and reliability.
As SpaceX continues to break records and push the boundaries of space exploration, it reaffirms its position as a leading player in the aerospace industry. With a strong focus on reusability, innovation, and its ever-expanding Starlink network, SpaceX is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of space travel and communication on Earth.